A new study presented at the meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has concluded that patients who suffer from obesity were able to reduce the degeneration of the cartilage of their knees just by losing weight.
They discovered that those who lost 10% of their body weight were better able to preserve their knee cartilage.
What research was undertaken?
For the study the researchers took a group of people who were suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis.
During the research the participants were separated into 3 groups:
- Those who did not lose weight
- Those who lost a little weight
- Those who lost a lot of weight (over 10% body weight)
These 3 groups were then monitored over a 4 year period, with various MRI scans along the journey to see how the osteoarthritis was progressing in their knees.
At the end of the study the researchers concluded that those who lost the most weight had experienced less degeneration of their knees.
Study leader Dr. Alexandra Gersing, from the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) had this to say about the results:
“Cartilage degenerated a lot slower in the group that lost more than 10% of their body weight, especially in the weight-bearing regions of the knee. However, those with 5-10% weight loss had almost no difference in cartilage degeneration compared to those who didn’t lose weight.”
“Obese patients who lose weight can slow down the progression of cartilage degeneration in the knee.”
What causes the degeneration of knee cartilage?
The main cause of the degeneration of knee cartilage is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease that could lead to a complete knee replacement.
As we age the risk of suffering osteoarthritis will increase, but this is not the only risk factor.
Obesity can also cause an increase in the risk as the extra weight being carried by your body can put extra strain onto your joints, in particular the hip and knee joints.
While the loss of cartilage cannot be replaced, this new study has shown that it is possible that if you take steps to lose a little weight then you will be able to slow down the rate that the cartilage is lost.