Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weight Loss Success Good for Knees

I have had 3 knee surgeries...yes, that means two on one knee, not that I have 3 knees. I knew that being obese was bad for my knees...the excess weight put a lot of pressure on these joints.

I didn't allow this to stop me from getting out there and doing things. Well, that's not really true. There were things I couldn't do...and certainly things that I couldn't do as easily as a person of "normal" weight...but I did go out and do a lot of things.

Well, a new study is looking into why some people are losing cartilage in their knees and it appears that having a high BMI (body mass index) may be a risk factor.

Obesity is already known to increase risk for heart problems and osteoarthritis...and it makes sense that because of the extra weight it might be a risk factor for decreasing the cartilage in our knees.

Dr. Frank Roemer of Boston University is the study's lead author and he notes regarding cartilage loss, "Weight loss is probably the most important factor to slow disease progression."

Once the knee cartilage is gone, then you are looking at wearing down the bone...that is very painful and can lead ultimately to needing knee replacement surgery. I don't know about you, but I'd like to avoid pain and surgery whenever possible. Not only that, most surgeons won't do a knee replacement operation on obese patients.

In addition to the cartilage loss, the overweight patients in the study were more prone to tearing the meniscus and other joint-related problems.

Weight loss success results in lowering your BMI...and the high BMI is the only demographic feature that consistently predicted the cartilage loss.

So if you were looking for yet another reason to drop excess weight, you can do it to save your knees.


Anonymous said...

Losing weight will certainly lessen the forces imposed on your joints during walking and other activities, but unless you have an autoimmune disease that attacks cartilage, poor body mechanics are what contribute to the destruction of cartilage. Even people of a normal weight can have bad knees.

Laurie Tossy said...

Hi Anonymous--
I was surprised to read that the results of this study that show having a high BMI is a good predicter of destroying cartilage. The people in the study did not have autoimmune disease. Only common denominator was the high BMI.

Perhaps poor body mechanics are related to the high BMI as it is a challenge to have excellent body mechanics when you carry a lot of excess weight...what do you think?