Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints that worsens over time, causing pain and limiting mobility. Though its causes vary, the most common ones include genetic factors, obesity, diabetes, Lyme disease, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis and Obesity
Obesity is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee and hips, because excessive weight on these joints wears away the protective cartilage and accelerates disease progression. Complications from obesity also hamper treatment and limit the options available to doctors; surgery to treat the condition takes longer, and the success rates for joint replacement are lower than among patients with normal weight.
Apart from weight reduction and surgery there are no specific treatment methodologies to halt the breakdown of cartilage. However, because even a small loss in weight can help relieve pain in the weight-bearing joints, it is important to make lifestyle choices that include exercise and a healthy diet with fewer calories. Weight loss both helps reduce pain in patients who already have osteoarthritis and lowers the risk in those who are at risk.
Bariatric surgery, with its promise of reliable and lasting weight loss, offers obese patients with osteoarthritis a reduction in the severity of their pain, reducing their dependence on painkillers and steroids. It may also slow the progress of the disease, greatly extending their years of pain-free mobility.