How Weight Affects Arthritis
It's well-known that extra weight places more stress on your joints, especially when you have arthritis. However, studies show that obesity and overweight affect rheumatoid arthritis in other ways as well.
A study conducted in Oslo, Norway found that obesity worsens the quality of life of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on four key levels including pain, fatigue, physical function and overall utility (quality of life) scores.
Researchers examined 1,041 who had rheumatoid arthritis using key areas of self-reported health in areas such as pain, fatigue and disease activity. Patients were grouped according to body bass index (BMI), and BMI was classified into normal weight, overweight and obesity.
Five hundred and forty-one patients fell into the normal weight category, 316 were considered overweight and 102 were in the obese category. Underweight patients (those who had a BMI less than 18) were excluded from the study.
Obese participants reported significantly increased ratings for pain and fatigue than participants with normal weight. Obese patients also rated significantly worse physical functioning than normal-weight patients.
Extra Weight Reduces Chance of Remission
But there's more bad news when it comes to weight and arthritis. Research presented at the 2007 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Scientific Meeting revealed that being overweight decreases the chances of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) going into remission. During this period inflammation and other RA symptoms go away for a significant period, which helps to reduce the long-term damage that rheumatoid arthritis causes.
To determine the connection between weight and arthritis, the researchers randomly placed 100 people with different BMIs on combination therapy consisting of methotrexate, sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine, prednisolone and either placebo or infliximab (Remicade®).
After 12 months of treatment, 58 percent of patients with normal weight who were on placebo plus combination therapy were in remission. But only 35 percent of patients who were overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and 25 percent of those who were obese (BMI of 30 or greater) were in remission. Being overweight didn't seem to affect those who were taking Remicade plus the combination therapy.
Because fat tissue produces pro-inflammatory mediators (molecules), it puts people who are overweight at increased risk of inflammatory complications, states Dr. Marjatta Leirisalo-Repo, of Helsinki University Central Hospital who led the study. She believes Remicade may act on the inflammatory mediator that is produced by fat tissue, allowing even obese people to go into rheumatoid arthritis remission.
Due to findings like these, health experts advocate reducing obesity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis so they can improve their quality of life. Other researchers recommend lowering the BMI-cut off points for people with rheumatoid arthritis by two kilograms. For people who are overweight the cutoff would be 23 kg/m(2), and for people who are obese it would be 28 kg/m(2). Not only would this reduce complications caused by weight and arthritis, it would also lower the cardiovascular risk these patients face.
Journal Name: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Vol.66(10), pp. 1316-21
Study Date: October 2007
Study Name: Redefining overweight and obesity in rheumatoid arthritis patients
Authors: Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou A, Metsios GS, Koutedakis Y, Nevill AM, Douglas KM, Jamurtas A, van Zanten JJ, Labib M, Kitas GD
Obesity Exacerbates Rheumatoid Arthritis, UPI.com.
Increasing Body Mass Index Is Associated With Reduced Rate of Remission in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis, American College of Rheumatology 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting Presentation
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.