In a recent study, researchers find that overweight and obese people who lost weight over 4 years showed significantly lower degeneration of their knee cartilage.
According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis.
Being overweight or obese can place extra pressure on joints and cartilage, causing them to wear away.
In addition, people with more body fat may have higher blood levels of substances that cause inflammation in the joints, raising the risk for osteoarthritis.
The research team examined the link between weight loss and the progression of cartilage changes on MRI over a 48-month period in 640 overweight and obese patients
These people had risk factors for osteoarthritis or MRI evidence of mild to moderate osteoarthritis.
The data was collected from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a nationwide research study focused on the prevention and treatment of knee osteoarthritis.
Patients were categorized into three groups: those who lost more than 10% of their body weight, those who lost five to 10% of their body weight, and a control group whose weight remained stable.
The results showed that patients with 5% weight loss had lower rates of cartilage degeneration when compared with stable weight participants.
In those with 10% weight loss, cartilage degeneration slowed even more.
Not only did the researchers find that weight loss slowed articular cartilage degeneration, they also saw changes in the menisci. Menisci are crescent-shaped fibrocartilage pads that protect and cushion the joint.
Light to moderate exercise is also recommended to protect against cartilage degeneration in the knee.
The researchers said the most exciting finding of the research was slower degeneration in the articular cartilage.
Furthermore, the menisci degenerated a lot slower in overweight and obese individuals who lost more than 5% of their body weight.
and the effects were strongest in overweight individuals and in individuals with substantial weight loss.
The finding emphasizes the importance of therapy strategies and lifestyle interventions to prevent structural knee joint degeneration as early as possible in obese and overweight patients.
The study is published in the journal Radiology.
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News source: Radiological Society of North America.
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