Nearly one-third of Americans aged 20 and over are considered overweight, and another third is obese — that means almost 70% of the U.S. population is at least overweight.
And the consequences affect virtually every part of the body.
Those who live with extra weight are at risk for serious health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, as well as mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety.
Excess weight can also take a toll on your joints and expedite painful damage. Here, Dr. Michael Skardasis, our specialist at Optimal Performance Medicine, takes a closer look at how your weight directly impacts your joint health.
Defining excess weight
The line between a healthy weight and an unhealthy weight can often be difficult to determine, especially if your weight gain has been gradual. There are a few ways to figure out when you’ve crossed over into having “excess weight.”
First, take a measurement of your waist. Experts say that a waist circumference of 35 inches or more for women and 40 inches or more for men is a telltale sign that you’re carrying extra weight.
You may also be overweight if you notice these other symptoms:
- Frequent heartburn
- Chronic fatigue
Achy, painful joints are another indicator that you’re carrying more weight than you should. Here’s why more weight often results in more joint pain.
Your weight and your joints
Your body comes equipped with over 300 joints, each of which is responsible for helping you move. Your larger joints, like those in your knees, hips, and back, do all of this while carrying your body weight.
Even if you maintain a healthy weight throughout your lifetime, osteoarthritis (a type of arthritis characterized by gradual wear-and-tear on your joints) is still a threat. This threat increases (and can set in early) if you have excess weight.
Extra weight almost always equals extra pressure on your joints, particularly your knees. When you take a step, your knees absorb 1.5 times your body weight. Throw in an incline, and the amount of force goes up to 2-3 times your body weight. Your knees can bear anywhere from 4-5 times your body weight when going up or downstairs or when squatting.
The more weight you have, the more stress your joints have to endure.
Additionally, as you gain weight, your body also experiences an increase in inflammation which attacks your joint health as well.
How we help you lose weight
Your first instinct may be to thrash your calorie count and hit the treadmill for hours. But losing weight too quickly or turning to extreme methods often does more harm than good.
Dr. Skardasis believes in natural, healthy weight loss that employs a wide range of strategies to help you become a healthier person. We take into account your medical history, interests, and unique needs and create a medically supervised weight-loss program that works for you.
Many of our programs include the following:
- Nutrition counseling
- Exercise programs
- Customized health coaching and support
If you’re ready to get one step closer to a healthier lifestyle, don’t hesitate to request an appointment at our Woodstock, Georgia, office online or over the phone today.