With studies linking an increase in the development of osteoarthritis with obesity, surgeons at OrthoArizona – Arcadia (AOA) say weight control is an essential component in maintaining mobility through middle and old age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three obese Americans are expected to develop osteoarthritis (arthritis of the joints) in key areas like the knees, as compared to the one in five Americans expected to develop osteoarthritis who are not overweight.
“For those who are overweight and have osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis of the knee is especially common,” said Douglas Hartzler, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at OrthoArizona – Arcadia. “It’s thought that the increased stress on the knee joint caused by additional weight is contributing to the development of osteoarthritis of the knee. An example is the force across the kneecap is over four times your body weight when you climb a stair.”
A painful disease that affects mobility, osteoarthritis is characterized by discomfort, tenderness, stiffness, pain and grating sensations in the joints. Over time, the disease destroys cartilage, bone, muscles and ligaments.
“Once cartilage is lost, there’s no replacing it,” Hartzler said. “However, by keeping a healthy body weight, those affected by osteoarthritis can help preserve existing cartilage, and by losing weight patients also increase the likelihood of optimal results after surgery, if joint replacement is necessary.”
The orthopedic surgeons at AOA warn that the development of osteoarthritis places people in a compromised situation.
“The best thing for those who suffer from osteoarthritis is weight loss,” said Hartzler. “But it’s more difficult to lose weight when it’s hard to walk or move.”
For those who have osteoarthritis, OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopedic Associates offers professional consultations, diagnosis and treatment, including joint replacement surgery, a proven treatment that can give patients the opportunity to become active again.
“Regular exercise paired with proper diet and nutrition has a significant impact on overall bone and joint health,” Hartzler said. “For those who are suffering with osteoarthritis, there are many effective treatments available, including joint replacement, that can help with pain and discomfort and get people back to doing the things they love.”
Hartzler specializes in joint replacement, bone and joint-related sports injuries and complex reconstruction.
About OrthoArizona – Arcadia
OrthoArizona – Arcadia strives to improve the quality of life of its patients and their families through outstanding orthopedic care. OrthoArizona – Arcadia is committed to excellence by pledging to provide the highest quality of orthopedic care possible. Along with the treatment of immediate or chronic problems, top-rated and board-certified orthopedic surgeons strive to integrate the doctrine of prevention in all treatment plans as a way to alleviate possible future difficulties.