ThinkstockPhotos-477356811-BSMDArthritis is a common disease affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children. Most of us know someone who suffers with it or deal with the pain ourselves. That’s because people of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis. It is the leading cause of disability in America. It most often affects women and occurs more frequently as we age.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms, which can progress and worsen over time, may come and go and range between mild, moderate or severe. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and can make normal activity like walking or climbing stairs difficult. It can even cause permanent joint changes. Sometimes, arthritis can cause visible changes, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on x-rays.

Losing weight is one of the best pain management tips we can give to help prevent osteoarthritis pain. Carrying excess weight increases the pressure that you put on your knees, hips and ankle joints with every step you take. Did you know that 1 pound of weight puts an additional 4 pounds of pressure on your knees? Over time, that extra weight makes you more prone to developing arthritis and can cause arthritis to progress more rapidly once developed, leading to increased pain.

Although losing weight cannot repair the damage that’s already been done to your joints by arthritis, it can decrease your pain, and potentially slow down the further progression of the disease. Losing even as little as 10% of your total body weight can reduce joint pain, decrease your risk of developing arthritis in joints not already affected, and reduce the odds of joint replacement. A 2010 study indicated that weight loss can lessen pain, improve function and lower inflammation levels in the body. Other studies indicate that exercise, which aids in weight loss, can help manage and lessen the pain and symptoms of arthritis.

If you haven’t yet developed arthritis, losing excess weight can significantly lower your risk. Research shows that over 10 years, losing 10 pounds may cut your risk of developing arthritis by more than 50%.

If you suffer from arthritis and need help kick-starting your weight loss, contact Blue Sky, MD today. We can work with you to develop a weight loss program that is tailored to your individual lifestyle. Call us now; start today.