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How Your Weight Affects Your Joint Health

Healthy joints allow you to move freely, stay stable when you’re on your feet, and function well physically overall. While added pounds aren’t known to cause joint disease on their own, they can add strain and inflammation, making way for a range of joint-related problems. 

Interventional pain specialist Dr. William Yancey at Yancey Pain & Spine in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas, utilizes proven therapies and the latest advancements in joint pain treatments to help you get worthy relief. Take a moment to learn why healthy weight control can help.

Wear and tear

The more weight your bones need to bear, the more strain from wear and tear they’ll experience. 

Consider this example from the Harvard School of Public Health. When you walk over level ground, your knees endure a force equal to about 1.5 times your body weight. So if you weigh 200 pounds, your joints will need to withstand 300 pounds of pressure. 

If you walk on inclined terrain or up a flight of stairs, this number increases to about 4-5 times your body weight. This is one reason that osteoarthritis, the most prevalent form of arthritis, is so common, affecting over 32 million adults in the US, where about 70% of adults over age 20 are overweight or obese.

Added inflammation

The more body fat tissue you have, the more inflammation markers you have in your body. Fatty tissue produces proteins that cause inflammation in and around your joints. In large amounts, these proteins can exacerbate joint damage caused by injury or disease. 

All of this can make losing excess pounds especially important when you have any form of arthritis that affects your joints, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.

Benefits of a healthy weight

When you maintain a healthy body weight for your size and activity level, you’re less likely to experience joint-related health problems. And any joint issues you do develop probably won’t be as severe or likely to lead to complications. 

Keep in mind that a dangerously low body weight can impact your joints, bones, and overall health in harmful ways, too. Your doctor can help determine your ideal weight range.

Additional benefits of a healthy body weight may include:

The best ways to manage your weight typically include eating more nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables and fruits, cutting back on sugary fare, refined grains, and unhealthy fats, and staying physically active through doctor-approved activity. 

Prioritizing healthy sleep habits and managing emotional stress can help, too. 

To learn more about lifestyle factors associated with joint conditions, or to get needed support, call the Houston or The Woodlands, Texas, office of Yancey Pain & Spine or request an appointment with Dr. Yancey online. You can also send our team a message here on the website.

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