Obesity remains a chronic health issue for America. The body mass index (BMI)
is based on one’s weight and height.
Overweight is defined as a BMI 25 29.9, obesity as a BMI over 30, and extreme
obesity as a BMI over 40. The latest statistics from the National Institutes of
Health demonstrate that more than 2 out
of 3 adults (68.8 percent) are overweight or obese. More than 1 out of 3 adults
(35.7 percent) in this country are considered obese and more than 1 out of 20
adults (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity.
The prevalence of obesity is the same among men and woman, roughly 36 percent.
However, 74 percent of men and 64 percent of women are considered overweight
or obese, and extreme obesity is seen in 4 percent of men and 8 percent of women.
It is well known that excess body weight contributes to the development of
osteoarthritis of the joints, particularly the weight-bearing joints such as the hip, knee, lower back, ankle and foot. Osteoarthritis
is caused by the gradual loss of cartilage in a joint, thereby leading to pain, swelling
and stiffness. It is a progressive, degenerative disorder that typically develops
over years. Many factors contribute to the eventual development and advancement
of this disease.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of disability particularly in people
over the age of 50. It is estimated that 30 percent of people between the ages 45
and 64, and 63 percent to 85 percent in people over age 65 will suffer from arthritis
in their lifetime. Osteoarthritis tends to occur more frequently in men.
If your joint is severely damaged by arthritis, it may be hard for you to perform
simple activities every day such as walking, climbing stairs or getting up from a chair.
You may even begin to feel pain while you’re lying down or at nighttime. This pain
and limited mobility are the main reasons people decide to have joint replacement
surgery. Surgery should only be a consideration after other treatments, such as
exercise, weight loss, medications, braces, physical therapy and injections have failed.
According to Dr. Vincent Cannestra, M.D., of Midwest Bone and Joint Institute,
an orthopedic surgeon located in Geneva and Elgin, joint replacement surgery
provides complete pain relief in more than 95 percent of patients. Within weeks
of surgery, most patients can participate in recreational activities such as golf,
biking, skiing, doubles tennis and hiking.
“A frequent discussion I have with my patients in the office prior to hip or knee
replacement surgery is their desire and struggle to lose weight prior to the surgery,”
says Dr. Cannestra.
Losing weight can be challenging and nearly impossible for those with an arthritic
joint who can’t exercise, walk or even pursue their daily activities because of the
pain and loss of motion associated with a severely arthritic hip or knee.
Often then, the focus of losing weight and getting into better health and better
shape is postponed until after the joint replacement surgery.
But how often does this weight loss occur? What factors are involved if one is
to lose weight after a hip or knee replacement? Certainly, joint replacement can
relieve pain, restore range of motion and function, and help lead patients back to