Those of you who are overweight and cannot walk due to knee joint pain, the best way to overcome it, is to lose weight. The obvious reason is that extra weight puts chronic stress on your knee joints, causing further wear and tear of the knee joints. However, as you age, the effect of wear and tear could happen to any of your joints namely your hands, wrists, hips, knees, feet, spine and shoulders. Hence, it’s logical to stop the problem right at its start by shedding some kilos.
Maintaining a perfect weight has a lot of benefits. It includes freedom from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and your knee pain. Below are 4 important ways in which weight loss proves to be a blessing for your knees:
Due to excess weight gain, there is an increased pressure on your knees, which leads to inflammation. This inflammation causes unbearable knee pain which can be cured effectively only by getting your weight under control.
In case you are suffering from weight-induced joint pain, losing a few kilos and taking stress off your joints may ease your symptoms. Controlled weight means that there will be less pressure on your knees and no restricted movement.
No risk of spasm
When you gain weight, there is an extra pressure added on your knees. This pressure makes your knees weak and susceptible to injuries and spasms. It is important to keep a watch on your weight to avoid any pain or injuries that could affect your knees and make your movements difficult.
The foremost reason that leads to arthritis is the gain in your weight. The moment your knees experience extra weight, the pain gets aggravated and further leads to arthritis. Gaining weight puts a lot of additional stress and strain on your knees, which have to bear the brunt of those excess kilos. The increased pressure promotes wear and tear, eventually leading to osteoarthritis. On the other hand, losing weight can help you take a load off, literally.
Obesity & Painful Joints due to Osteoarthritis
India has a high number of obese individuals. According to a study published by ‘The Lancet Journal’, there were 20 million obese women in India in 2014 compared with 9.8 million obese men. It clearly shows that obesity is more prevalent in women than men.
Osteoarthritis develops gradually over a period of many years. About 2-3% of the people may get Osteoarthritis below the age of 40yrs, but almost 40% of the people get it after the age of 50 yrs. Women are more likely Victims after the age of 50. It is difficult to reason as to why cartilage breaks down, but heavy use of a joint is sometimes a contributing factor. Most medical practitioners feel that it is an unavoidable part of growing older. Something apparently goes wrong with the cartilage in a person with Osteoarthritis. The body obviously does not produce enough building blocks (proteoglycans and collagen), fast enough to keep the cartilage healthy. At the same time due to wear and tear of the joints the existing cartilage matrix is being ‘chewed up’ and it is a two-fold problem.
Simple Solution to Manage Osteoarthritis
1.Take glucosamine and chondroitin
Start taking supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates. When these two are taken together, they can actually halt the disease process in its tracks help the body to heal itself. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates, aid in normalizing the cartilage matrix by stimulating synthesis of new cartilage. They help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis at the cellular level. Supplements of these are available in the market. But check with your physician before going on to a program of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate.
The next most important step in Osteoarthritis is to shed those extra kilos. Every 5kgs of excess weight increases the risk of secondary Osteoarthritis by 30 percent. Do not skip meals to lose weight. Make gradual changes in your diet, so that it becomes a lifestyle. Increase your aerobic activity and eat nutrient-dense food.
Free radicals produced in the body due to normal metabolic procedures, or due to environmental toxins, pesticides in food, stress, pollution etc destroy healthy tissue, including the tissues found in the joints. According to one theory, Osteoarthritis may be the result of free radical damage. Prevention of free radical damage can be achieved by taking in sufficient antioxidants. The antioxidants ‘quench’ the free radicals and prevent it from attacking healthy tissues. Numerous vitamin supplements of antioxidants like vitamin A, C, E, selenium are available in the market. You could also take antioxidants in a natural form by consuming fruit juices or vegetable juice and by eating salad greens, soya nuts, almonds, walnuts & most dry fruits. To make sure you are getting adequate antioxidants everyone above the age of 20 to take supplements of vitamin A, C, E and the mineral selenium.
The omega –3 fats found in fish, flaxseed (alsi), green vegetables, walnuts, soyabean and other pulses helps to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints. Gamma – linolenic acid (GLA) found in evening primose oil, borage seed oil and black currant oil also helps to reduce pain by preventing blood platelets from sticking together, improving blood flow and reducing inflammation. Joints damaged by Osteoarthritis don’t get as swollen or inflamed as those hit by rheumatoid arthritis, but they are somewhat inflamed. Vitamin E also helps fight inflammation relieves pain and improves mobility in patients suffering from Osteoarthritis. A typical dose to fight inflammation and pain is 400IU to 600IU.
Relationship Between Overweight & Gout
When people are overweight or obese, their bodies produce more insulin. “Higher levels of insulin circulating throughout the body inhibit uric acid elimination by the kidneys. This excess uric acid can lead to gout and gout attacks.
Relationship Between Overweight & Psoriasis
Studies have shown that people with psoriasis are more likely than people without it to have a higher BMI and higher levels of the obesity-related hormone called ‘leptin’. It found that Psoriasis precedes psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, simply reducing some kilos of weight can go a long way in preventing as well as managing any joint pain related issue. Start by making some of the important diet changes and include at least 15-20 minutes of exercise every day and you will soon see some amazing changes soon.
Ideal Diet Changes to Manage Arthritis
- Turn vegetarian but have lots of fish (steamed, poached or in a curry). Fish oils contain anti-inflammatory agents which suppress arthritic symptoms.
- Try a little ginger every day. It has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda. This anti-inflammatory agent might help you soothe the pain, recommended intake being 5gm of ginger to be taken thrice a day. It can be incorporated in cooking or its juice can be mixed with water and taken thrice a day.
- A low sodium diet helps counteract water retention in tissues, which can aggravate the swelling that accompanies arthritis.
- Incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, jowar, bajra, nuts, seeds and whole pulses in your everyday diet.
- Eat at least 2 tablespoons of alsi seed powder everyday. Rich in Omega-3 fats, it will help in reducing pain.
- Take antioxidants in a natural form by consuming fruit juices or vegetable juice and by eating salad greens, soya nuts, almonds, walnuts & most dry fruits. To make sure you are getting adequate antioxidants everyone above the age of 20 to take supplements of vitamin A, C, E and the mineral selenium
- Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates, help to normalize the cartilage matrix by stimulating synthesis of new cartilage. They help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis at the cellular level. Supplements of these are available in the market. But check with your physician before going on to a program of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate.
What to avoid?
- Vegetable oils should be avoided as too much Omega-6 type of fatty acids may trigger the inflammation. The best oil to use is olive oil or til oil.
- Exclude all meats especially red meat, as it contains saturated fats, which stimulates inflammatory agents in the body. It also causes uric acid build-up and joint inflammation. Some preserved types of meats like cold cuts, ham and bacon contain preservatives and chemicals that can trigger arthritic reactions in some.Cut down on saturated fat by excluding milk products like cheese, butter, ghee, etc.
- Avoid all forms of sugar including colas, soft drinks, pastries, cakes, mithais, etc. Because sugar can add fuel to the fire as it strips the body of its essential nutrients.