Obesity has been linked to a number of health problems and diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, and an increased risk of stroke. Now, experts say that obesity may also contribute to the rapid loss of cartilage.
According to a study published in the most recent issue of Radiology, a publication owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, risk factors for progressive cartilage loss increase dramatically when a person is obese. Researchers have found that cartilage damage is more common among those who are obese because the extra weight puts excessive stress on the joints and can lead to misalignment and a reduction in flexibility or strength of the connective tissues. Over time, this can lead to irreversible cartilage damage.
Frank Roemer, M.D., adjunct associate professor at Boston University and co-director of the Quantitative Imaging Center at the Department of Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine and author of the study published in Radiology explains that "We have isolated demographic and MRI-based risk factors for progressive cartilage loss… Increased baseline body mass index (BMI) was the only non-MRI-based predictor identified." (Source: MedicalNewsToday.com)
Obese patients can turn to several different treatment options to reduce their weight, and by doing so, may be able to strengthen their joints and muscles to prevent extensive cartilage loss. Current weight loss programs include gastric bypass surgery and LAP-Band surgery which intercept how the body absorbs nutrients and digests food. Still, not all obese patients may require surgical intervention. Weight reduction can be achieved with nutritional counseling and a physician-guided weight loss program that allows the patient to lose weight slowly over a period of several months, and modify their lifestyle so that the weight is not regained easily.
Cartilage loss, joint damage and other health problems are a serious problem for obese patients, but there are several options available for reducing body weight and achieving a better state of health.