Obesity and Arthritis: How Are They Connected?

By: Bel Marra Health | Diets | Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 02:01 AM

lose weightRheumatoid arthritis is a painful chronic disease that is mainly characterized by inflammation of the joints.  Several risk factors have been strongly associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  However, it is also important to understand that there are other factors that may also influence the occurrence of this joint disorder, including excessive weight gain, which has been linked to an increased risk of obesity.  It may also be helpful to engage in activities that focus on how to lose weight and include fruits and vegetables in daily meals.

In a recent study published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, the association between obesity and rheumatoid arthritis was examined in a study population consisting of patients positively diagnosed with arthritis.  The study consisted of approximately 196 patients who were examined for joint pain and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as insulin, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels, as well as body mass index.  The risk of obesity is generally inferred from an individual’s body mass index, which is based on the ratio of the height and weight of a person.  An individual with a body mass index greater than 30 thus carries a high risk of obesity.

What This Means Towards Your Risk of Obesity

The results of the study showed that rheumatoid arthritis was associated with an increased risk of obesity.  The excessive weight of these study participants may be due to the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, which decreases their capacity to engage in physical activities and exercises that are generally considered as effective measure to lose weight.  The risk of obesity in these rheumatoid arthritis patients also increases the likelihood of developing insulin resistance, which in turn may affect the control of blood glucose levels.  On the basis of these results, the study thus suggested that rheumatoid arthritis patients should be more actively monitored in terms of weight gain and that exercise schemes be recommended to lose weight.  It would also be helpful to eat more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, which may also help lose weight.

RELATED READING: Obesity is a True Epidemic

Rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are common chronic disorders that afflict adults, resulting in an increased need for medical treatment and monitoring.  We often think that these chronic diseases are restricted to joint pain and blood glucose levels, yet the recent medical report showed that rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes might also play a role in increasing the risk of obesity.  It is thus important to look closely at one’s lifestyle and identify possible factors that may influence the risk of obesity.  The most common questions that one may ask include “Do I need to lose weight? Do I eat enough fruits and vegetables every day?”

The Contribution of Fruits and Vegetables

One of the most common measures to lose weight and decrease the risk of obesity is to include fruits and vegetables in meals.  Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that may increase resistance to various medical diseases and infections.  In addition, fruits and vegetables also contain high levels of fiber, aiding in digestion and helping in the maintenance of a healthy colon.  Aside from the positive benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables, these natural food items may directly help an individual to lose weight by serving as substitutes for processed meals.  Markets are now also supplied with a variety of fruits and vegetables, including those imported from countries around the world, thus giving us a wider range of food choices.

Several health programs actively campaign for the inclusion of healthy lifestyles to lose weight and to decrease the risk of obesity.  Together with eating fruits and vegetables, it is also highly recommended that regular exercise be considered a part of the daily or weekly schedule, allowing the body to improve its blood circulation and stretch those muscles of the body.

On the part of medical practitioners who regularly monitor patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the recent medical report serves as additional proof that it is important for their patients to lose weight in order to decrease the risk of obesity.  They may also remind patients that eating fruits and vegetables may not only help lose weight, but also increase their chances of having a healthy body.


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