For every pound of excess weight, four pounds of extra pressure are put on the knees. Needless to say, overweight and obese people are at much higher risk of developing arthritis. In fact, an obese person has a 60 percent greater risk of getting arthritis than people who maintain a healthy body weight.
One in five Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that number jumps to more than one in three among obese people — and two out of three Americans are either overweight or obese.
“Weight plays an important role in joint stress, so when people are very overweight, it puts stress on their joints, especially their weight-bearing joints, like the knees and the hips,” says Eric Matteson, MD, chair of the rheumatology division at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
While many may disregard arthritis as unimportant and non-life threatening, it is in fact a chronic condition with serious impact on people’s lives. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and can lead to many debilitating problems for overweight people, from daily pain and discomfort, decreased mobility, and may even necessitate surgery.
One study examined the factors contributing to total knee and hip replacements in people between the ages of 18 and 50. A remarkable 72 percent of those who underwent joint replacement surgery were obese.
Weight loss has been shown to be effective in decreasing the effects, prevalence, and onset of many comorbid conditions, particularly arthritis. A study of overweight women showed that a weight loss of merely 11 pounds reduced their risk of developing knee Osteoarthritis by half.
Healthcare costs attributed to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions (AORC) in the United States in 2003 was approximately $128 billion, and is continuing to increase as obesity continues to rise. For providers who have patients that suffer from arthritis, or who are at risk for arthritis, weight loss using a medically supervised program can mean an enhanced quality of life for their patients, as well as provide a cost effective solution to arthritis, and many other comorbid conditions.
In a quickly changing healthcare climate, providers must be quick to adopt smarter and cost-effective strategies to reduce expenditures while maximizing quality of care. Treating comorbid conditions singularly without looking at the bigger picture of what is causing these ailments will increasingly become a costly mistake for both physicians and their patients. Talk to Robard today about how to streamline your patient care efforts by starting a medical weight management program today.
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