Weight Loss Can Decelerate Knee Joint Degeneration

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Weight Loss Can Decelerate Knee Joint Degeneration
Weight Loss Can Decelerate Knee Joint Degeneration

TUESDAY, May 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss of 5 percent or more can significantly lower cartilage degeneration in overweight/obese patients, according to a study published online May 2 in Radiology.

Alexandra Gersing, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco's department of radiology and biomedical imaging, and colleagues collected data on 640 obese and overweight people who had mild osteoarthritis or were at risk of it. The patients, average age 69, were part of the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a nationwide U.S. study on the prevention and treatment of knee arthritis. The participants were placed into three groups: those who lost more than 10 percent of their body weight, those who lost 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, and those whose weight remained stable.

Over 48 months, the researchers found that patients with 5 percent weight loss had lower rates of cartilage degeneration than patients whose weight remained stable. Among patients who lost 10 percent of their body weight, cartilage degeneration slowed even more. Weight loss also slowed degeneration of the menisci.

"The most exciting finding of our research was that not only did we see slower degeneration in the articular cartilage, we saw that the menisci degenerated a lot slower in overweight and obese individuals who lost more than 5 percent of their body weight, and that the effects were strongest in overweight individuals and in individuals with substantial weight loss," Gersing said in a journal news release. "Our study emphasizes the importance of individualized therapy strategies and lifestyle interventions in order to prevent structural knee joint degeneration as early as possible in obese and overweight patients at risk for osteoarthritis or with symptomatic osteoarthritis."

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