Osteoarthritis Linked to Obesity

By: Pamela Egan, NP, CDE, ABAAHP Diplomat

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports that 46 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. In addition, arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the US, limiting activities of daily living of an estimated 19 million adults.

A new CDC report published April 29, 2011 in the edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report raises new concerns about arthritis and its link to obesity. As obesity increases, people diagnosed with arthritis increases. And the rates are increasing faster in some states. The more weight people gain the higher their risk of developing arthritis.

Researchers have been tracking health-related conditions and behaviors for more than 15 years. The data was broken down state by state. The states with the highest obesity rates were: South Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alaska, Michigan, Missouri, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and my home state of Louisiana which has the nation’s highest percentage of obese residents at 43.5%.

Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease. It is the most common type of arthritis. It is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.

Osteoarthritis is common in all races and backgrounds. It usually appears after age 45. Overall, more women have osteoarthritis than men. There is no cure. Many factors may play a role in whether or not you get OA including genetics, age, obesity, injuries such as sports injuries, muscle weakness, free radical damage and oxidative stress, lack of fruits and vitamin C.

Healthy lifestyle modifications are important for people who suffer from arthritis. Weight management, a nutritionally balanced diet and exercise can help to reduce symptoms of arthritis. Fish Oil is an essential fatty acid that helps to ease the pain. Glucosamine helps to lubricate joints thereby reducing the pain of arthritis. Antioxidants are also beneficial to reverse free radical damage and oxidative stress. When natural remedies fail aspirin and NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be added.

There are also products that can help relieve pain associated with some types of arthritis. For example, Egan Medical offers a variety of products such as these arthritis gloves, which help to relieve pain associated with arthritis of the fingers and hands. Egan Medical offers a variety of orthopedic braces and supports designed to help relieve arthritis pain.

In addition to the various soft orthopedic goods, Egan Medical also offers Biofreeze, a pain relieving cryotherapy gel designed to among other things, help relieve pain associated with arthritis.

To summarize, osteoarthritis cases are on the rise, and new research seems to indicate that this may be tied to a rise in obesity rates, which have been linked to osteoarthritis pain. Weight management through diet, exercise and general lifestyle changes is the best way to go about addressing the issue. That said, for those who are still in pain or who wish to minimize the pain while addressing the various lifestyle components of obesity and arthritis, there are products available that can help accomplish those ends.

Pamela Egan, NP, CDE, ABAAHP Diplomat
Egan Wellness, Anti-Aging and Skin Care Spa
1116 W. 21st Avenue
Covington, LA 70433
985-892-3031 (Office)
985-892-9504 (Fax)