How Lifestyle Affects Osteoarthritis

Preventing Osteoarthritis Through Good Health Decisions

Once you know your osteoarthritis risk factors, the next step in preventing osteoarthritis is minimizing or eliminating the risk factors that you have. Some good prevention strategies include:
 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Preventing joint injuries.
     
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Studies have shown that for people who are overweight or obese, losing weight can decrease the chances of developing osteoarthritis.
 
Extra weight places extra pressure on joints and cartilage, causing them to wear away. In fact, for every pound you gain, you add three pounds of pressure on your knees and six times the pressure on your hips. In addition, people with more body fat may have higher blood levels of substances that cause inflammation. Inflammation at the joints may raise the risk of osteoarthritis.
 
Weight loss can decrease stress on your knees, hips, and lower back, as well as lessen inflammation in your body.
 
Your healthcare providers can help you fashion a diet and exercise program that's right for you and your weight loss goals. Doctors usually recommend that people with osteoarthritis eat a diet low in fat, cholesterol, and salt. For people who are also trying to lose weight, doctors recommend an exercise program in addition to this diet. As a general rule, try to get regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week (see Arthritis and Exercise).
 
(Click BMI Calculator or BMI Chart to find your healthy weight.)
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