Does Obesity Increase Osteoarthritis Risk?


The insidious link between extra weight and increased osteoarthritis risk

Osteoarthritis riskDoctors have historically advised patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis to lose weight in order to lessen the strain on the joints. Now doctors should also be advising overweight patients to lose weight to decrease their osteoarthritis risk. The Arthritis Foundation posted this overview on fat and osteoarthritis and discussed the links between osteoarthritis and obesity in a second post.   The latter points out “…year after year of obesity fuels a steady barrage of friendly fire that in turn generates low-level chronic inflammation. Not an inflamed immune system, like an infection but a soft drum-beat of immune proteins that over time can damage tissues such as joints, ‘that’s insidious because it’s continuous,’ says Robert Mooney, PhD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Rochester in New York.”

A recent population-based cohort study, led by Carlen Reyes, MD, PhD, of the GREMPAL Research Group in Barcelona, Spain, reinforces findings that people who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing hand, knee and hip osteoarthritis. Obese individuals are at higher risk, as increased weight and higher BMI increases the osteoarthritis risk. The study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, included more than 1.7 million participants 40 years or older, not diagnosed with osteoarthritis before January 1, 2006, who had BMI data available in the SIDIAP database (Information System for the Improvement of Research in Primary Care, a joint project of the Catalan Institute of Health and the Primary Care Research Institute Jordi Gol. Follow-up on participants extended through the end of 2010. The authors note “…Incidence rates (per 1000 PY) of knee, hip and hand OA ranged from 3.7 (3.6 to 3.8), 1.7 (1.7 to 1.8) and 2.6 (2.5 to 2.7) amongst normal-weight, to 19.5 (19.1 to 19.9), 3.8 (3.7 to 4.0) and 4.0 (3.9 to 4.2) in the grade II obese respectively. Compared to normal-weight subjects, being overweight or obese increased the risk of OA at all three sites, especially at the knee: overweight and (grade I, II) obesity increased knee OA risk by a factor of 2, 3.1 and 4.7 fold respectively.”

Between hand, hip and knee osteoarthritis, the risk was most pronounced for knee osteoarthritis, and increased as the BMI increased. To review the complete study, read here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27059260p>