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Health After 50

The Best Way To Prevent Osteoarthritis

Comments (3)

Studies have shown that overweight or obese women who lose just 11 pounds decrease their risk of osteoarthritis by about 50 percent.

Over 20 million Americans have osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. One of the most frequent causes of physical disability in adults, osteoarthritis involves the progressive breakdown of cartilage and other joint tissues. By age 40, about 90 percent of people have some degree of osteoarthritis in their weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees—though symptoms of pain and stiffness generally do not appear until later in life.

There is no sure-fire way of avoiding osteoarthritis. But the best way to reduce the risk of developing symptoms of osteoarthritis is to lose weight if you are overweight or obese.

Osteoarthritis occurs most often in your hands and in the joints of your lower back, hips and knees. The latter are all weight-bearing joints, and obesity increases the pressure on them. Obesity is especially hard on knees—osteoarthritis of the knee is about four to five times more prevalent in obese men and women than in people at normal weight.

It doesn’t take much weight loss for benefits to appear. Studies have shown that overweight or obese women who lose just 11 pounds decrease their risk of osteoarthritis by about 50 percent.

Posted in Arthritis on April 17, 2006
Reviewed June 2011

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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Health After 50 Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the editors cannot be answered in this space.

The views expressed here do not constitute medical advice, and do not represent the position of Scientific American Health After 50 or Remedy Health Media, LLC, which has no responsibility for any comments posted on this site.

Thank you so much for this encouraging article. Most people think they have no control over whether or not they get it, so it is nice to know we can be proactive about this condition, even if it runs in families.

Posted by: Jo | May 24, 2006 1:54 PM

What can I do? I am obese, but have lost 37 lbs. and will continue to lose. I am only 50 and have no carteledge left in my right knee. I have to wait 10 years and lose over a hundred lbs. before they will consider knee replacement. I am in alot of pain. I have started aqua fittness for arthritic patients and are on the usual regement of anti-inflaminatory drugs. Any suggestions? ndleslie

Posted by: ndleslie | May 27, 2006 2:28 AM

What is to be done about arthritic deformation of finger joints, which of course are not weight-bearing? Flax seed oil prevents pain at the joint where the thumbs join the hand. Knees have already been successfully replaced.

Posted by: steven109 | May 29, 2006 10:39 PM

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