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Obesity and Arthritis

How Fat Affects Arthritis

Being overweight can make arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia and other joint diseases and conditions worse.

If you were to ask people to name a health problem related to obesity, odds are good they’d say “heart disease” or “diabetes.” And they’d be right; those two chronic diseases have a very strong relationship to excess weight. They are the safe bets.

But if you like long odds, put your money on arthritis. It’s not as commonly known, but obesity in some cases raises the risk of getting a certain type of arthritis; in all cases, obesity makes arthritis worse. One in 5 Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that number jumps to more than 1 in 3 among obese people – and 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese.

Here’s a look at what fat does to arthritis, as well as some tips to put you on the road to losing weight.

Fat and Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, OA, is the most common type of arthritis, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage – the flexible but tough connective tissue that covers the ends of bones at joints. Age, injury, heredity and lifestyle factors all affect the risk of OA.

Why Obesity Matters