Is your body mass index (BMI) 30 or over? If it is, this is considered overweight, or obese, on the standard medical range. Obesity has become a global epidemic, with more than 35 percent of adults and children in the United States struggling with this chronic disease. And it’s not just about the image of being overweight, because added weight means a higher chance of pain and inflammation around the joints.
Losing weight can be difficult and frustrating, requiring extreme changes and a high level of discipline. But not doing so comes with a host of health complications, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol levels, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Being obese is psychological as well as physical. Being overweight often causes someone to have anxiety and low self-esteem. These feelings can quickly turn into depression, leading to more unhealthy habits such as excessive eating, drinking, or smoking cigarettes. Being overweight and obese requires a lifestyle transformation, as promoting a healthy lifestyle will increase your quality of life.
Feeling the Weight of the World on You
Did you know that if you are carrying extra weight, it can lead to chronic pain, especially in your joints, and may even damage them permanently? If you are overweight or obese, you may have noticed that certain areas of your body – such as your knees, hip, feet, or ankles – tend to be sorer and may even crack or pop more frequently.
These are all clear indications of bone and joint damage, most likely due to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. Being overweight or obese increases one’s risk of developing chronic joint pain and joint diseases. This is twofold, because not only does the added weight put more pressure on your joints, there are also unhealthy foods that can promote a higher level of inflammation in the body. If you already have arthritis, added weight will only make your pain and reduced mobility even worse.
Carrying extra weight puts stress on one’s growth plates, joints, and bones. This leads to a greater level of degeneration and wear and tear. Obesity can also lead to hormonal imbalances, which may affect musculoskeletal growth and bone density. In other words, excessive stress on the joints causes chronic pain, mobility issues, and may lead to the need for physical therapy to help restore functionality, mobility, and relieve pain. If these methods of treatments do not help, joint replacement surgery may be needed to replace and repair the damaged joint.
Joint Damage and Weight
Joint damage sustained from degeneration and decay is not reversible. However, there are options out there to help improve joint pain and function. Starting a low-impact exercise plan to help lose weight will help keep pressure and swelling off of your joints, letting them support your body and movement the way they are designed. Any amount of weight lost can help to take some stress off of your joints, which will ultimately help you move and feel better overall.
Understanding how important a healthy diet and fitness routine can be for maintaining a lifetime of good musculoskeletal health can go a long way to avoiding pain and injury.
To learn more about the common conditions that could affect your joints, and how to improve your joint health overall, call the orthopedic specialists at South Palm Orthopedics at (561) 496-6622 to request an appointment, or request an appointment online.