Bariatric Surgery for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease. It is extremely common, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. It occurs when cartilage – the slippery tissues that assist with nearly frictionless joint motion – becomes rough. The rubbing can lead to swelling, pain or loss of motion of the joint.

People who suffer from osteoarthritis may have difficulty performing ordinary tasks, ranging from opening a box of cereal to surfing the internet, climbing stairs or even walking.

These issues can be even more pronounced for morbidly obese individuals. Obesity is even considered one of the greatest risk factors for developing osteoarthritis.

Can bariatric surgery help people with osteoarthritis?

Bariatric surgery is an important solution for morbidly obese people diagnosed with osteoarthritis, especially if the condition is still in its earliest stages. A study by surgeons at the University of Alberta determined that bariatric surgery does produce moderate improvement in knee and hip osteoarthritis pain following bariatric surgery, and earlier studies showed a drop in pain from 100% to 37% in some bariatric surgery patients!

The Canadian study explains that previous research points to improved outcomes when the patient receives bariatric surgery before the osteoarthritis gets too advanced, Bariatric surgery shows a more modest improvement in patients whose cartilage has already been worn away.

A Johns Hopkins study found that weight loss offers improvement for osteoarthritis. For a woman of normal height, for every 11-pound weight loss, the risk of knee osteoarthritis dropped more than 50 percent. Similarly, for men in the overweight category who lost enough weight to move into the normal weight category, knee osteoarthritis decreased by 21.5 percent.

But losing weight can be tough when even simple movements cause pain! Bariatric surgery helps a morbidly obese patient lose the weight that allows then to decrease pain levels and pursue a healthier, more active lifestyle. Learn more about bariatric surgery now.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the protective cartilage at the end of bones, leading to painful problems like swelling, inflammation, loss of mobility and bone spurs.

The elderly and the obese are particularly susceptible to osteoarthritis, but it is a very common condition. The Arthritis Foundation notes that one in two people develop osteoarthritis in their knees, one in four have osteoarthritis in a hip and one in 12 have osteoarthritis in a hand.

As osteoarthritis symptoms progress, an individual may give up physical activities in an attempt to avoid the pain — and this can exacerbate a condition like morbid obesity.

Are people who suffer from morbid obesity more susceptible to osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can be the result of many factors. Morbid obesity is one of these possibilities. Age is considered the number one risk factor, but we all get older! That’s not something we can control.

Excess weight is the second most important risk factor, however, and that can be controlled through healthy choices like exercise, proper nutrition and bariatric surgery.

The knees of morbidly obese people seem especially prone to osteoarthritis. A Framingham Osteoarthritis Study showed that obese patients were had an increased risk of 50% of developing osteoarthritis in the knee.

The Arthritis Foundation claims that every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. That means that a person who is 10 pounds overweight has 40 pounds of extra pressure on his knees. If a person is 100 pounds overweight, that is 400 pounds of extra pressure on his or her knees. In general, overweight women have nearly four times the risk of knee OA and overweight men have five times greater risk.

“Overall,” reports a recent study by Canadian surgeons, “obesity is strongly associated with the development of knee osteoarthritis.”

Reduce the risk of osteoarthritis and alleviate the advancement of osteoarthritic symptoms. Learn more about bariatric surgery now.

How do I know if I have osteoarthritis?

The most commonly reported symptom of osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joints. There are, however, a range of osteoarthritis symptoms. Some include:

  • Stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Deformed joints

What happens if you ignore osteoarthritis?

While many people consider osteoarthritis an unavoidable annoyance, the conditional has the potential to wreak serious havoc on a person’s overall health. Aside from the inability to do simple motor tasks at work or home, people with osteoarthritis can suffer from:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Falls and injuries
  • High blood pressure

No one has to accept osteoarthritis.

If you’re still unsure about the benefits of bariatric weight loss surgery for osteoarthritis, consider Nicole’s story. After years of experimenting with different diets and exercise, she found frustrated and experiencing pain every day.

"I was heavy my entire life. Over the years I am sure that I spent over $10,000 on weight loss programs and special foods-all with no results. I was tired, limited in my physical activity, and intolerant of the summer heat. After surgery, there are so many changes. I feel better about myself. I am happier. Just not feeling pain makes a bit difference."

If you’re still suffering from osteoarthritis, you aren’t alone. Barix Clinics can provide you with weight loss surgery solutions and help you need to improve your quality of life. To learn more, contact us today.

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