Weight Loss Can Help Arthritis Sufferers


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Are you suffering from knee arthritis? Losing weight could help. A recent study shows that people who combined diet and exercise to lose weight saw a change in their arthritis symptoms. While exercising itself can relieve some pain associated with arthritis, the weight loss is the big factor in pain relief.

"While both the exercise and the diet interventions separately were beneficial, the combination of the two was superior in virtually every outcome," Stephen Messier, who led the study at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said

Extra weight can cause the cartilage in the knees to break down sooner, leading to inflammation, pain and stiffness. When an arthritis suffered loses weight, the knees get a break and the symptoms go away or decrease.

"No one expects diet and exercise to have a huge impact" on osteoarthritis, Dr. Amanda Nelson, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Thurston Arthritis Research Center, said.

"The fact that most of the improvements were modest is what we would expect to see."

During the study, 454 overweight and obese adults with mild or moderate knee arthritis were assigned 18 months of diet counseling, exercise or both.
By the end of the study, people assigned to both diet and exercise had lost an average of 23 pounds. That compared to almost 20 pounds in the diet-only group and four pounds among those who only exercised. Compared to people in the exercise-only group, those who combined diet and exercise had less knee inflammation and pain and better functioning at 18 months.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.