Our bones attach to each other at a joint, where strong tissues called tendons and ligaments help connect the bones. It is common for such joints to experience stress as we age. But it is pertinent to note that weight too plays a role along with age. Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on knees. This means that if a person is 100 pounds overweight then the knees undergo 400 pounds of excess pressure. “Fat” itself is such an active tissue that releases such chemicals which promote inflammation. Researchers have also found that hand osteoarthritis (OA) is more common amongst obese people.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, the average onset of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is between the ages of 30 and 60, and children can also get it. RA is a chronic condition that progresses over time with periods of increased disease activity, called flares and periods of remission.
In 1971, the number of cases of arthritis primarily caused by obesity was at 3 %. By 2002, that number had increased six-fold to 18 %. An obese has a 60 % greater risk of getting arthritis than people who maintain healthy body weight. A study examined the factors contributing to total knee and hip replacements in people between the ages of 18 – 50. A remarkable 72 % of those who underwent joint replacement surgery were obese.
Bariatric or Metabolic surgery can prove to be very beneficial for joints too. For 0.5 kgs lost, 2.5 kgs of pressure on joints are reduced. Other benefits are pain reduction, increased mobility, better outcome after a joint replacement surgery etc. Bariatric surgery can be considered the best way for a joint replacement.
Orthopaedic surgeons themselves are referring more patients for consideration of bariatric surgery in anticipation of future elective procedures.
Many patients pursue bariatric surgery for improvement in their physical image and somatic health improvement. Health-related quality of life improves after bariatric surgery & long-term improvements are positively associated with the long-term amount of weight reduction leading to less joint problems.