Does Obesity Cause Arthritis? The Facts Arthritis Patients Must Know (2023)

I’m fighting a losing battle: That’s how Ranay C. felt when her doctor suggested she lose weight. Her joints hurt too much to exercise. And she says the medications her doctor prescribed to help relieve her rheumatoid arthritis pain and other symptoms made her gain weight. It’s a cycle, says this CreakyJoints Facebook member; a vicious cycle.

You get it. Perhaps your own doctor told you the same thing. Maybe they were nice about it; maybe they weren’t. And maybe you feel just as frustrated about needing to lose weight to help manage your arthritis. Losing weight is hard — there’s no denying that. And when your joints are stiff and sore, when it hurts to exercise, when you’re exhausted from arthritis pain, the task can feel impossible.

“Everyone blames themselves if they can’t lose weight,” says Angela Fitch, MD, associate director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center in Boston — people think it’s their fault they can’t stop drinking soda or keep craving unhealthy foods. “But there are biological reasons that can drive you to make those choices,” she says. Plus, some forms of arthritis itself, and its treatment, can lead to an increase in body fat and loss of lean muscle mass, explains John Davis, III, MD, rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Obesity isn’t just needing to eat less and lose a few pounds. It’s a chronic, treatable disease. It’s not going to go away overnight, and it’s something you continually need to work at, says Dr. Fitch, who serves as a board member of the Obesity Medicine Association. But it is a battle worth fighting. And it’s one you can win — if you take it one tiny step at a time.

Obesity can raise the risk of getting certain types of arthritis and it makes every type of arthritis harder to manage. But losing even a little weight can have a huge impact on physical and mental health.

(Video) Obesity and knee arthritis

Why Obesity Raises Your Risk of Arthritis

Obesity and Osteoarthritis

For osteoarthritis (OA) and obesity, the connection is clear: the more you weigh, the greater your risk of developing osteoarthritis in certain joints. OA occurs when the cartilage that cushions and protects the ends of bones in your joints wears down over time. Added weight puts more pressure and stress on weight-bearing joints, such as the knees and hips, explains Dana DiRenzo, MD, MHS, instructor of medicine in the department of rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Studies have shown that obese women had nearly four times the risk of knee OA as compared with non-obese women; for obese men, the risk was nearly five times greater.

Another factor may be fat itself. “Adipose [fat] tissue is an inflammatory tissue,” says Dr. DiRenzo. It produces proteins called cytokines that cause inflammation in and around the joints, which can add to joint damage.

Obesity and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Exactly how obesity affects rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other forms of inflammatory arthritis is unclear, but experts believe that inflammatory compounds from fat may play a role here too. RA is an autoimmune disorder — which means that your immune system is attacking your own body; in this case your joints — that causes inflammation of the joints and also affects other organs in the body.

“It may well be that cytokines and adipocytokines [produced by fat cells called adipocytes] contribute to this inflammatory state, and these cytokines can activate immune effectors and other cell types in the joint to initiate and sustain joint inflammation,” explains Dr. Davis. In a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research that he co-authored, researchers analyzed medical records on 813 adults with RA and 813 without RA to examine the association between obesity and risk of developing RA. They found that RA cases rose by 9.2 per 100,000 women from 1985 to 2007 and that obesity accounted for 52 percent of that increase.

Obesity and Psoriatic Arthritis

Research also suggests a link between obesity and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) — a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes scaly, red patches of skin. A population-based study found the risk of developing PsA among psoriasis patients increases with BMI, or body mass index; the higher your BMI, the more your risk of PsA increases.

Obesity and Gout

The same is true with gout, which is a kind of arthritis characterized by intense episodes of painful swelling and tenderness in joints, most often in the feet and especially in the big toe. Gout occurs when high levels of uric acid (a normal waste product) in the body causes uric acid crystals to form and accumulate in the joints, triggering painful attacks. Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. If you’re overweight, your body produces more uric acid and your kidneys have a tougher time eliminating it.

How Obesity Makes Arthritis Management Worse

Consider this: Every one pound of excess weight exerts three to six pounds of extra force on joints, says Dr. DiRenzo. If you’re 10 pounds overweight, it increases the force on your knees by 30 to 60 pounds with each step; being 100 pounds overweight means 300 to 600 pounds of extra pressure. All that extra weight on already damaged joints worsens the pain and stiffness and can accelerate disease progression.

Extra fat also means more inflammation. Cytokine levels are already high when you have inflammatory arthritis; obesity compounds it. Research published in the journal Autoimmunity Reviews found obesity can lead to more active and severe RA and PsA. You’re less likely to achieve sustained remission, as well, compared to those with a healthy BMI, according to other studies. And research suggests obese people with ankylosing spondylitis — a type of inflammatory arthritis that can causes some vertebrae in the spine to fuse — are likely to have worse symptoms, less physical function, and lower quality of life.

(Video) Avoid 10 Foods That Can Worsen Joint Pain or Arthritis

Plus, obesity may impact how well some of your arthritis meds work, adds Caroline A. Andrew, MD, medical weight management specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “Studies have shown that some DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), which are used to treat inflammatory arthritis, may not be as effective in people who are overweight or obese,” she says.

The good news is that the opposite seems to be true: Losing weight can help disease-modifying drugs work more effectively. In a study of patients being treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha blockers for psoriatic arthritis, those who lost at least 5 percent of their total body weight showed more of a response to treatment than those who did not lose weight.

How Weight Loss Improves Arthritis

The first thing Dr. DiRenzo asks her patients when they begin to lose weight is: How are you feeling? “And the answer is almost always better,” she says. “Even if you lose just a few pounds, think about how you feel today versus a month ago,” she adds — if you can walk a little farther or move with a little less aching. Improved quality of life is probably the most impactful and tangible effect.

Patty D., a CreakyJoints Facebook member, has lost 75 pounds to date — in part by cutting processed foods, including soda and sugar. “How I feel is what keeps me motivated to continue.”

More benefits of weight loss:

Reduced joint pain and inflammation: Less body weight means less pressure and often less pain. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adults with osteoarthritis who lost weight through a combination of diet and exercise over a period of 18 months reported less knee pain. That’s something CreakyJoints Facebook member Dave M. can attest to: He lost 20 pounds and it made “a huge difference on his knees, hips, and feet.” The study also showed inflammatory compounds associated with arthritis decreased over the course of 18 months of exercise and weight loss.

Better joint function: Research has shown weight loss seems to improve joint function in obese people with knee OA — in part because compressive forces inside the knee joint improved, according to scientists.

Lower risk of comorbid conditions: Cardiovascular disease is a complication of both arthritis and obesity. The same is true for diabetes, as well as depression. Losing weight can help mitigate the risk, says Dr. Davis.

(Video) The connection between Obesity and Arthritis | Dr Maran on influence of Obesity on Arthritis

More energy: Angela B. gets home from work exhausted; by the end of the week, it becomes extreme fatigue. On the weekends, she rests to do it all again the next week. “I am too fatigued to exercise at any time,” says the CreakyJoints Facebook member. But as counterintuitive as it sounds, exercise is the best thing you can do to improve fatigue, says Dr. DiRenzo. It releases endorphins, which not only increase energy but also improve mood. Creaky Joints member Anne M. agrees: “Staying within recommended BMI is best pain medication and energy giver of all.”

Sounder sleep: Musculoskeletal pain interferes with sleep and may lead to insomnia, reported researchers in the UK. Weight loss and exercise, however, can help improve sleep.

Expert Advice to Lose Weight and Improve Arthritis

You know the basics: eat more fruits and veggies; choose whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins; exercise more. But you also know that cooking healthy meals and prepping fresh produce really hurts your hands. And sometimes you can barely walk 10 feet, let alone take 10,000 steps a day.

“Here’s the thing: You only lose weight when you decide it’s critical to you,” says CreakyJoints Facebook member Joanna R., who has maintained a 60-pound weight loss for more than three decades. “It’s a lifelong journey, not a one-time event,” she says. “And only you can do it; no one can do it for you.”

The benefits of shedding extra pounds far outnumber the challenges. Here are 8 tips to help get past the hurdles and lose weight so your joints feel better:

Set small goals. Think about what you’d like to do if your joints didn’t hurt and use that to give you something to work toward, suggests Dr. DiRenzo. If you enjoyed walking around the neighborhood after dinner, start with baby steps: Take a five-minute walk, one day a week, she says; then bump it up to 10 minutes the next week. Then walk two days a week, gradually increasing time or distance. “Give yourself milestones you can meet to keep you successful through the process,” she says.

Try a fitness tracker. Think of it as a way to help you do things more continually throughout the day, says Dr. Fitch. First track your normal — don’t do anything special, and see many steps you take in a day, suggests Dr. Fitch. If it’s 500 steps, for example, aim for 600 steps the following week, and 700 after that.

Fill up on foods that fight inflammation. That’s veggies and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, and herbs and spices. Not only does an anti-inflammatory diet help with weight loss by boosting energy levels and satiety and improving digestion — these foods also help your body better manage normal inflammation, as well as help it put out the excess inflammation that comes with inflammatory arthritis.

(Video) Myth Busters: The Truth about Arthritis Causes and Treatments

Think quality over quantity in your diet. “You don’t need to eat less, just eat differently,” says Fitch. “Focusing on whole foods and cutting out processed foods, which promote inflammation, gets you healthier nutrition combined with weight loss, which helps your arthritis improve fairly quickly.”

Her motto: “Planned portions of plants and protein throughout the day.”

Stay accountable. When her doctor told her losing weight would help her psoriatic arthritis symptoms, CreakyJoints Facebook member Anne M. used the My Fitness Pal app to keep her on track. She lost about 65 pounds over 12 months. Though she still has stiff, painful joints, her back pain improved immensely. If you’re tech-savvy, a weight loss app works great, says Dr. DiRenzo. You can also keep a journal to help you stay accountable, or find a patient group or weight-loss buddy.

Skip sugary drinks. Slurp down a 30-ounce fountain soda and you’ll drink 400 calories and 25 teaspoons of sugar. Sip a frozen mocha swirl from a popular coffee chain and that’s 730 calories and 35 teaspoons of sugar. As tough as it may be to say no to soda or fancy brews, you really should: Sugar promotes inflammation in your body. And research shows regularly consuming sugar-sweetened drinks is linked to greater weight gain and obesity, which can make inflammatory arthritis symptoms even worse. CreakyJoints Facebook member Vicki B. did just that: She significantly cut sugar in all processed forms and not only lost weight, but reduced inflammation. “I’m living proof this works,” she says. “I have never felt better.”

Review your meds with your doctor. Some medications used to treat RA or other inflammatory arthritis condition can impact weight, says Dr. Andrew. Long-term use of glucocorticoids is associated with weight gain, she says, and several medications used for arthritic pain can also cause weight gain.

“When I was first diagnosed, my weight was ideal,” says one Creaky Joints Facebook member. “After starting biologics, I gained 15 pounds almost immediately and have never been able to shed it.” If possible, try to see an obesity medicine specialist, a physician who has been trained in weight management, suggests Dr. Andrew. “This type of provider can do a thorough assessment, including a review of a patient’s medication list, and potentially [modify your treatment plan] to help mitigate some of the weight effects of the arthritis medications.”

Consider medical interventions. “People tend to think I failed dieting, so now I need meds; I failed meds, so now I need surgery — but it shouldn’t be that way,” says Dr. Fitch. “It’s not a failure if you need medical help. Instead, think of these weight loss treatments as effective tools that can help you accomplish your goal.” Talk to your doctor or an obesity medicine specialist to talk about options and determine if weight loss medication or surgery is right for you.

Keep Reading

  • Gluten-Free Diet and Arthritis: Does It Help Improve Symptoms?
  • Simple Diet Lessons from Nutritionists with RA
  • Losing Weight with Arthritis When You Really Hate Dieting


Does obesity cause arthritis? ›

The increase in the prevalence of OA is directly attributable to the rise in obesity,” he says. Being just 10 pounds overweight puts an extra 15 to 50 pounds of pressure on your knees. This makes it more likely to you'll develop osteoarthritis (OA) or make the disease worse if you already have it.

Will my arthritis get better if I lose weight? ›

Adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by being at a healthy weight. Weight loss is a non-drug way to manage arthritis and ease joint pain.

What type of arthritis is associated with obesity? ›

The most significant impact of obesity on the musculoskeletal system is associated with osteoarthritis (OA), a disabling degenerative joint disorder characterized by pain, decreased mobility and negative impact on quality of life.

Will losing weight help my osteoarthritis? ›

A key study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism of overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA) found that losing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. In other words, losing just 10 pounds would relieve 40 pounds of pressure from your knees. Ease pain.

Can obesity make arthritis worse? ›

Excess weight puts added stress on joints, particularly knees, causing pain and worsening arthritis damage. “Being just 10 pounds overweight increases the force on your knees by 30 to 40 pounds with every step you take,” says Kevin Fontaine, PhD, assistant professor of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University.

What is arthritis mostly caused by? ›

Most forms of arthritis are thought to be caused by a fault in the immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues in the joints. This may be inherited genetically. Other forms of arthritis can be caused by problems with the immune system or by a metabolic condition, such as gout.

What stops arthritis from progressing? ›

Get Physical

Physical activity is the best available treatment for OA. It's also one of the best ways to keep joints healthy in the first place. As little as 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five times a week helps joints stay limber and strengthens the muscles that support and stabilize your hips and knees.

What is the new treatment for arthritis? ›

Otilimab. This investigational therapy is under evaluation in late-stage clinical trials and shows promise for reducing inflammation and relieving pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis. It works by suppressing an inflammatory protein called GM-CSF. Olokizumab.

How does arthritis affect the heart? ›

Inflammatory substances called cytokines fuel joint destruction in RA and blood vessel damage in cardivascular disease (CVD). Inflammation causes plaque build-up in the arteries, which slowly narrows blood vessels and blocks blood flow, and is the main cause of heart attack and stroke.

How can I lose weight with severe arthritis? ›

Walk, swim, or bike. These are safe forms of aerobic exercise for people with arthritis, and they can help you control your weight and give you more stamina and energy. Walking, in particular, is great because it's functional, says Millar, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

What happens to your knees when you are overweight? ›

Excess weight is a risk factor for osteoarthritis because the increased stress wears down the cartilage at the ends of bones quickly. Excess weight also contributes to osteoarthritis because fat cells release chemicals that cause inflammation. These factors can contribute to the development of the disease.

What can worsen osteoarthritis? ›

Increased weight adds stress to weight-bearing joints, such as your hips and knees. Also, fat tissue produces proteins that can cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints. Joint injuries. Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

What is the best exercise if you have osteoarthritis? ›

Low-impact exercises, like walking, cycling or using an elliptical machine are smart choices,” says Dr. Zikria. “If you run, play basketball or do other high-impact activities, avoid hard surfaces and don't do it every day.” Multiple studies show that mild to moderate exercise is beneficial for people with arthritis.

What should you not do with osteoarthritis? ›

5 Foods to Avoid
  • Red meat and fried foods. Fried foods and red meat contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are known for stimulating inflammation. ...
  • Sugars. ...
  • Dairy. ...
  • Refined carbohydrates. ...
  • Alcohol and tobacco.
21 Dec 2020

Will losing weight help with arthritis in the knees? ›

Recent research shows that people who are overweight can reduce their symptoms of knee arthritis by losing at least 20% of their weight. Millions of older adults have stiff, painful knees caused by arthritis. Arthritis causes a breakdown of the cushion of tissue inside the knee joint.

Does obesity cause hip pain? ›

Being overweight accelerates osteoarthritis in the individual's hips and knees,” says Timothy Laing, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and a rheumatologist at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center.

Who gets arthritis the most? ›

Adults aged 18 years or older who are overweight or obese report doctor-diagnosed arthritis more often than adults with a lower body mass index (BMI). More than 16% of under/normal weight adults report doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Where does arthritis most commonly start? ›

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees. With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change.

What is the most effective treatment for arthritis? ›

NSAIDs. According to the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation (ACR/AF), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the most effective OTC remedies for managing osteoarthritis pain. NSAIDs can help reduce both pain and inflammation.

Can arthritis affect your eyes? ›

More rarely, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in the white part (sclera) of your eyes, which can result in redness and pain. If you have rheumatoid arthritis and experience eye pain, vision changes or other eye problems, consult an ophthalmologist for an evaluation.

Does arthritis spread to other parts of the body? ›

As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body. About 40% of people who have rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don't involve the joints.

Can arthritis ever disappear? ›

Although there's no cure for arthritis, treatments have improved greatly in recent years and, for many types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory arthritis, there's a clear benefit in starting treatment at an early stage. It may be difficult to say what has caused your arthritis.

What is the drug of choice for arthritis? ›

Methotrexate is often the first drug prescribed for people newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. RA patients take this medication weekly, alone or in combination with other medications. High dose methotrexate is also used to treat some cancers.

What is the best injection for arthritis? ›

Hyaluronic acid injection is used to treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA) in patients who have already been treated with pain relievers (e.g., acetaminophen) and other treatments that did not work well.

Can arthritis cause a stroke? ›

Rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are an independent risk factor for stroke. People with these diseases die prematurely from cardiovascular disease including stroke,5,6 so an understanding of stroke risk among these patients is needed to reduce mortality.

Does arthritis affect blood circulation? ›

Rheumatoid arthritis has been proven to block blood flow in body parts like arms, legs, and elbows. The reduced blood flow can lead to coronary artery disease, inflammation, and narrowed veins. These complications create heart conditions that are chronic, inflamed, and damaging to blood vessels.

Can a person lead a normal life with arthritis? ›

Arthritis is not easy to live with but there is much you can do to change, overcome, or cope with the problems it presents. Your doctor and other members of your health care team can recommend medications, special exercises, joint protection techniques and devices and other self-care activities.

What foods battle arthritis? ›

Seven Foods to Help You Fight Arthritis
  • Fatty Fish. Salmon, mackerel and tuna have high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. ...
  • Dark Leafy Greens. Spinach, kale, broccoli and collard greens are great sources for vitamins E and C. ...
  • Nuts. ...
  • Olive Oil. ...
  • Berries. ...
  • Garlic and Onions. ...
  • Green Tea.
30 May 2018

Does arthritis go away with exercise? ›

Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness

It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. Of course, when stiff and painful joints are already bogging you down, the thought of walking around the block or swimming a few laps might seem overwhelming.

Is coffee good for arthritis? ›

Coffee could potentially benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis because of the anti-inflammatory properties of coffee. 4 Reducing inflammation in the body could help ease joint pain. Also, caffeine's stimulating effects help fight physical and mental fatigue that is common with rheumatoid arthritis.

Which is the best tablet for joint pain? ›

Besides ibuprofen and naproxen, other examples of prescription NSAIDs include diclofenac (Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), meloxicam (Mobic), oxaprozin (Daypro), and piroxicam (Feldene).

What is the best anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis? ›

NSAIDs. NSAIDs are considered one of the most effective OTC drugs for pain stemming from osteoarthritis, which causes inflammation. These drugs reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling from arthritis. A common examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

What makes arthritis in back worse? ›

Back pain caused by OA of the spine is often worse when sitting upright or standing. It usually improves when lying down. Some people who have osteoarthritis of the spine don't have any symptoms.

Is walking good for bone on bone knee pain? ›

Walking is a fantastic option for many patients with knee arthritis because it is a low-impact activity that does not put undue stress on the joints. Furthermore, walking can increase the knee's range of motion and keep it from becoming overly stiff.

Can your legs hurt from being overweight? ›

Excess weight can strain your joints and bones and lead to musculoskeletal issues including arthritis in the hips, knees and ankles. Weight gain can also lead to lower back pain from conditions like herniated discs and pinched nerves from the added pressure on your spine.

How much pressure is on your knees if you're overweight? ›

When you walk, the pressure on your knees is three to six times more than your body weight. If you gain 10 pounds, your knees support an additional 30-60 pounds of pressure every time you take a step.

Will climbing stairs worsen osteoarthritis? ›

If you feel knee pain while going up and down the stairs, you may be experiencing the first symptoms of osteoarthritis. New research, published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research, found that climbing stairs appears to be the first weight-bearing activity that causes osteoarthritis pain.

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and arthritis? ›

rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, involves the wearing away of the cartilage that caps the bones in your joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints.

What is the safest treatment for osteoarthritis? ›

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDs are the most effective oral medicines for OA. They include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) naproxen (Aleve) and diclofenac (Voltaren, others). All work by blocking enzymes that cause pain and swelling.

How far should you walk with osteoarthritis? ›

Aim for 6,000 steps per day, and keep in mind most of us already walk 3,000 to 5,000 steps per day just doing our normal activities. Remember, it's OK to slowly build up the number of steps you take.

How do you calm down osteoarthritis? ›

Other ways to relieve joint pain
  1. Heat and cold. Take a warm bath, apply cold compresses, or wrap some frozen vegetables in a towel and hold them to your painful joints. ...
  2. Massage. Gently rubbing the joints can increase blood flow to the affected area and ease sore spots. ...
  3. Glucosamine and chondroitin.
1 May 2013

Does walking reduce osteoarthritis? ›

Pain should not stop you from walking because walking actually helps to relieve osteoarthritis pain, according to WebMD. This is because walking allows more blood to flow to your joints. Other benefits of walking include: Improves your balance.

What should you not drink with arthritis? ›

In general, avoid soda since it can be full of sugar, aspartame and phosphoric acid. The latter can negatively affect your body's ability to absorb calcium. Water can get a bit boring, but there are other ways to stay healthy and hydrated.

Which is the main cause of osteoarthritis? ›

Primary osteoarthritis has no known cause. Secondary osteoarthritis is caused by another disease, infection, injury, or deformity. Osteoarthritis starts with the breakdown of cartilage in the joint. As the cartilage wears down, the bone ends may thicken and form bony growths (spurs).

What is the latest drug for osteoarthritis? ›

A drug called tanezumab reduced pain and improved physical function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, according to the results of a large clinical trial published in JAMA.

Can losing weight reduce joint pain? ›

If you have weight-induced joint pain, losing pounds and taking stress off your joints may ease your symptoms. While your body can't reverse arthritis or regrow cartilage, losing weight can help arthritic joints feel better and prevent further excess damage.

Can obesity lead to rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Obesity is a controversial risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A link between obesity and RA is plausible, since biologic mechanisms of inflammation are present in adipose tissue, and these may be linked to chronic systemic inflammation (1).

Can skinny people get arthritis? ›

Yes, there are thin people with arthritis and heavy people with healthy joints. But overall, the chance of developing arthritis in your joints is strongly associated with your body weight. People with a high body mass index (BMI) tend to get arthritis at a younger age.

What stops joint damage? ›

Movement and Exercise

First and foremost, movement and regular exercise are vital in preventing permanent joint damage. It may sound counterintuitive, as most athletes have heard, “you'll ruin your knees” at some point in their sports career. But like the rest of your body, joints need to be strong.

Which exercise is best for a person with arthritic knees? ›

Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are easier on your joints include walking, bicycling, swimming and using an elliptical machine. Try to work your way up to 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week.

What should you not do if you have arthritis in your knees? ›

Avoid these knee arthritis exercises

Running and jogging. Weightlifting, especially heavy loads and deep squatting. Sports that involve sudden stopping and starting, such as tennis. Sports and exercises that involve jumping, such as basketball and plyometrics.

What is the fastest way to cure arthritis in the knee? ›

Management and Treatment
  1. Maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Exercise using low-impact activities (swimming, cycling) instead of high-impact activities (jogging, tennis). ...
  3. Wear shock-absorbing inserts in your shoes.
  4. Apply heat or ice to the area.
  5. Wear a knee sleeve or brace.
18 Oct 2021

Will losing weight help my rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Just as being overweight is linked to increased Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, weight loss may help improve RA symptoms.

What is the most likely cause of rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it's caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue. However, it's not yet known what triggers this. Your immune system normally makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses, helping to fight infection.

How is obesity linked to inflammation? ›

Obesity results in the activation of the inflammatory signaling pathways mediated by JNK and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB). Once activated, these pathways induce the production of several pro-inflammatory cytokines in adipocytes, which contribute to insulin resistance and pro-inflammatory macrophages infiltration.

What meds help with arthritis? ›

Commonly used arthritis medications include: NSAIDs . Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Examples include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).


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