Osteoarthritis Becoming More Common as Obesity Rises

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and the most common cause of disability today. It was once considered a problem of the old but it is now commonly diagnosed in those as young as the mid-20s and early 30s. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 4 million, quality-adjusted life years are lost due to knee osteoarthritis alone. The Foundation further concludes that those who are obese are also more likely to develop advanced, end-stage disease than those who maintain a healthy weight. Both the incidence of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, along with obesity, have all risen dramatically in the past 50 years.

“There is a direct correlation with osteoarthritis and the low-fat, high-carb craze that has introduced countless refined, processed and packaged foods at about the same time. Compounding the osteoporosis issue is the fact that we move less than ever before,” Dian Griesel, PhD, and Tom Griesel, co-authors, stated in their new book, TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.

Kate Lorig, director of the Patient Education Research Center at Stanford University, stated in a press release that she agrees on the activity front.

“The most dangerous exercise you can do when you have arthritis is none,” she stated.

Each pound of excess body fat adds the equivalent of 4 pounds stress to the knees. Studies show that women — who are at higher risk than men — can cut their risk of knee osteoarthritis in half with even small reductions in body weight. The CDC states that obesity prevention, physical activity and self-management education are most promising for limiting osteoarthritis damage.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the spaces between our joints wears away. This can happen in all body joints. It is estimated that the disease affects around 27 million Americans and results in almost 635,000 joint replacements a year alone. Experts agree that overweight persons may reduce their chances for developing or aggravating their osteoarthritis by losing weight. Persons with low bone mineral density, such as in osteoporosis, may also be at increased risk for osteoarthritis.

“Obesity, osteoarthritis and even osteoporosis are now becoming prevalent even for adolescents,” Tom Griesel stated. “There is an undeniable connection to poor diet that simply cannot be ignored. The explosion of these refined and processed foods in our diets is causing all kinds of health problems with heart disease and diabetes at the top of the list which are most definitely diet related problems.”

Omega-3 foods — such as fish, and fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts — prohibit the body’s production of inflammatory immune compounds called leukotrienes, the Griesels stated. They cited research that found that people who ate at least two servings per week of baked or broiled oily fish reduced their chances of suffering from arthritis almost in half. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies and albacore tuna.

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