Osteoarthritis -- More Common As Obesity Rises

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and the most common cause of disability today. It was once considered a problem of the old but it is now commonly diagnosed in those as young as the mid-twenties and early thirties. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about four million, quality-adjusted life years are lost due to knee osteoarthritis alone. They further conclude that those who are obese are also more likely to develop advanced, end-stage disease than those who maintain a healthy weight. Both the incidence of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, along with obesity have all risen dramatically in the past fifty years.

"There is a direct correlation with osteoarthritis and the low-fat, high-carb craze that has introduced countless refined, processed and packaged foods at about the same time. Compounding the osteoporosis issue is the fact that we move less than ever before," say Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel, co-authors of the new book, TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH, 2011).

Kate Lorig, director of the Patient Education Research Center at Stanford University agrees on the activity front: "The most dangerous exercise you can do when you have arthritis is none." Each pound of excess body fat adds the equivalent of 4 pounds stress to the knees. Studies show that women (who are at higher risk than men) can cut their risk of knee osteoarthritis in half with even small reductions in body weight. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says obesity prevention, physical activity and self-management education are most promising for limiting osteoarthritis damage.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the spaces between our joints wears away. This can happen in all body joints. It is estimated that the disease affects around 27 million Americans and results in almost 635,000 joint replacements a year alone. Experts agree that overweight persons may reduce their chances for developing or aggravating their osteoarthritis by losing weight. Persons with low bone mineral density, such as in osteoporosis, may also be at increased risk for osteoarthritis.

Tom Griesel elaborates, "Obesity, osteoarthritis and even osteoporosis are now problem becoming prevalent even for adolescents. There is a undeniable connection to poor diet that simply cannot be ignored. The explosion of these refined and processed foods in our diets is causing all kinds of health problems with heart disease and diabetes at the top of the list which are most definitely diet related problems."

"Flare ups within joints that cause painful tenderness can be reduced significantly by eliminating all sugar, refined and processed foods along with grains while switching to consuming foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, and fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, which are the foods we evolved eating over tens of thousands of years, " says Dian Griesel, Ph.D.

These Omega-3 foods prohibit the body's production of inflammatory immune compounds called leukotrienes, say the Griesels. They site research which found that people who ate at least two servings per week of baked or broiled oily fish reduced their chances of suffering from arthritis almost in half. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, and albacore tuna.