Maintaining a healthy weight is your key to avoiding various diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, mental health problems, poor cardiovascular health, and so on, brought about by being obese or overweight. Now, according to a research study, excess weight can lead to faster deterioration of knee cartilage thereby increasing the likelihood of osteoarthritis or worsening existing knee OA. The link between losing weight and knee OA is, therefore, important to be aware of.

What does excess weight do to your knees?

Knees are load-bearing joints which means that they need to support a large portion of your weight when you engage in simple physical activities such as walking, standing, climbing the stairs and so on. Being overweight or obese, therefore, naturally puts a lot more stress and pressure on the knees. According to a research study, 19.5% of the individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the 35-40 range (grade 2 obesity) tend to suffer from knee osteoarthritis as compared to just 3.7% of the individuals who have a healthy BMI in the range of 18.5-25.

The answer to the question ‘can losing weight save my knees from OA?’ is yes, it certainly can. The reason for this is simple. A study found that for each kilogram of excess weight that you lose, you reduce the load that your knee joints need to bear by around 4 kilograms. Greater pressure on your knees is associated with greater wear and tear of the cartilage that protects and supports the knee joints, which drastically increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis. This shows that simply shedding some extra pounds can have a tremendous positive impact on the health and functionality of your knee joints, therefore establishing a clear negative relationship between overweight and knee OA.

How to maintain a healthy weight?

If you are overweight and are looking to reduce the risks of developing knee OA in the future or if you already suffer from knee OA but are looking to ease the symptoms and prevent progression, the solution is two-fold; exercise and a good diet. The importance of exercise and diet for knee OA relief cannot be understated.

Exercise is key not only to keep your bones and muscles healthy and fit; it is also crucial to maintain good overall physical and mental health. For individuals with knee OA, exercise can help reduce joint pain and inflammation, increase range of motion and prevent worsening of symptoms. Regular exercise, at least thirty minutes every day, can help you stay fit and shed excess weight, thereby reducing the impact on your knees.

Exercise alone, sadly, is unlikely to achieve the desired results and must necessarily be accompanied by a healthy diet. Avoid sugary and processed foods and opt for wholegrain alternatives that are rich in nutrients and low in calories. Say no to junk food and consume more fruits and vegetables to clean up your diet, and you will certainly start to see results in terms of reduction of weight.

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