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Weight and Joint Health

Recent studies have shown that seven out of ten people in Turkey are overweight or obese. Overweight and obesity have a negative impact on the course of existing diseases and may also be the main cause of the disease. Weight gain leads to metabolic diseases such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, some types of cancer, and a particular increase in body weight is a major risk factor for joint diseases.

Each excess weight in the body puts at least four times the load on the joints. Overweight and obesity cause joint and cartilage degeneration, and particular weight-bearing joints such as knee, hip, spine joints are affected by excess weight. As a result of these effects, osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease. Osteoarthritis induces pain and movement limitation and it is twice as common in obese people. Excess weight triggers disease by causing mechanical stress in weight-bearing joints. In addition, it has been observed that osteoarthritis affects the weight-free joints, such as hand joints in obese individuals compared to individuals in their ideal weight. This suggests that the effect of obesity on osteoarthritis is depending on the complex interaction of genetic, metabolic and inflammatory factors other than biomechanical stress.

Adequate nutrition is important for individuals with joint disease to prevent and improve the progression of the disease. It is also important for healthy individuals to prevent possible diseases and protect joint health. For healthy joints, one of the most important points is protecting the ideal weight of the individuals. In the nutritional plan, it is necessary to provide the individuals daily energy need in a balanced way from macro (protein-carbohydrate-fat) and micro (vitamin-mineral) nutrients. Especially for the joint health, omega-3 sources (fatty fish, flax seeds, etc.), milk and dairy products, various fruits and vegetables should be added to the daily diet. In addition, a sufficient amount of fluid and, if necessary, vitamin D supplementation in physician control should be provided to the body.

Compiled by: Dietitian Dilara Serarslan, Beyzadeoğlu Clinic

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