Osteoarthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting those of advanced age and is often exacerbated in those suffering from excess weight and obesity. Traditionally, osteoarthritis has been a disease that affects people as they get older however with the staggering rise in obesity rates throughout the nation, ever younger patients are starting to feel the effects of this debilitating disease.
Osteoarthritis involves the degradation of the cushioning cartilage in the various joints throughout the body. This cartilage acts as a barrier to prevent bones from rubbing on each other – a very painful condition. In minor cases, osteoarthritis may manifest itself in swelling and soreness. In more severe cases, it can compromise mobility and may require a major surgical procedure.
If osteoarthritis is in fact due to obesity and not advancement of age alone, the immediate course of action is to lose weight. Diet and exercise may be sufficient to lose excess weight and reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Bariatric surgery may also be an option for those that could not lose the weight through diet, exercise and other conservative weight loss options. Bear in mind however that any damage already done, often cannot be reversed.
No matter what form of weight loss the patient ultimately decides to employ, it is very important that osteoarthritis be treated at its very first signs. If allowed to progress to a more serious state, the condition can cause severe joint damage and chronic pain. Osteoarthritis due to excess weight is treatable, but it does require significant and long-term weight loss.
Please speak to your primary care physician or our office about your options for treating or preventing osteoarthritis through surgical or non-surgical weight loss programs.