The weight problem in the United States is serious — one in three adults are overweight and two in five have obesity. These extra pounds can not only lead to serious medical issues, such as diabetes and heart disease, but musculoskeletal health can suffer, too.
In this month’s blog post, our team at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine wants to focus on the many ways that carrying extra weight can negatively impact your musculoskeletal health. More importantly, we take a look at how weight loss can help you regain your ability to move more freely and confidently.
The impact of weight on joint health
The relationship between extra weight and serious health issues like cardiovascular disease is complex, but the link between weight and musculoskeletal health is more direct.
Your body is designed to carry a certain amount of weight, and when you’re carrying extra pounds, your musculoskeletal structure bears the brunt of this added burden. More specifically, your joints are often in the line of fire when it comes to supporting extra weight.
For example, let’s take a look at your all-important knees. Under normal circumstances, your knees absorb 1.5 times your body weight with each step. If you’re carrying additional weight, it places more pressure on these joints. This considerable increase in pressure on your knees can lead to greater wear and tear and early onset of osteoarthritis.
This same scenario can take place in other joints, such as your hips and ankles, as well as the facet joints along your spine.
Another concern of ours when it comes to carrying too much weight is the added stress on your bones. Between the ages of 25 and 30, your bones reach their peak mass. From then on, they gradually lose density.
At first, this loss of bone mass isn’t terribly problematic for most people, but the older you get, the weaker your bones can become. This especially applies to women who pass through menopause and lose certain reproductive hormones that once promoted bone health.
If you’re carrying extra pounds at the same time as you’re losing bone mass with age, your risks for fractures may increase, especially in your hips and in your vertebrae.
Losing weight for better musculoskeletal health
There are myriad benefits to losing weight and, as orthopedists, we’re going to include improving your musculoskeletal health. Through weight loss, you can take the added pressure off of your joints, your bones, and the connective soft tissues in your body. By lightening the workload of your musculoskeletal structure, you can not only ward off problems like arthritis and fractures, you can move more freely and effortlessly.
At our practice, we offer guided weight-loss programs that help our patients to take charge of their weight through better eating habits. Our approaches, called the paleo and keto diets, are designed to mimic the eating habits of our ancestors, which means avoiding processed foods, which are full of unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates, including sugars.
Better still, the paleo and keto diets not only help you lose weight, they are satisfying and supply your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to function optimally.
To learn more about our weight-loss programs and how they can help improve your musculoskeletal structure, please contact one of our offices in West Orange or Westfield, New Jersey.