Osteoarthritis, a progressive disease of the joints known as "wear and tear" arthritis, can be prevented and significantly reduced by weight loss, a new study has suggested.
According to the article, obesity actually may trigger the biomechanical and inflammatory changes that cause osteoarthritis, and the pain and loss of mobility associated with the condition.
"There's a clear link between obesity and osteoarthritis, and the link is both from biomechanical factors as well as systemic factors.
The systemic component appears to be significant," said Ryan C. Koonce, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Skagit Regional Clinics in Mount Vernon, Wash., and one of the authors of the literature review.
Weight loss can diminish pain, and restore function and quality of life in osteoarthritis patients, and possibly avert approximately 111,206 total knee replacements each year.
"It's important that doctors are aware of the different ways that obesity causes arthritis not only for treatment but for prevention of the condition," said Jonathan T. Bravman, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Colorado, an orthopaedic surgeon, and a co-author of the study.
"We are underutilizing weight loss as a primary treatment option for arthritis and joint pain."
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).