Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive, chronic autoimmune disease that causes painful swelling and inflammation in the joints — causing deformity; immobility; and swollen fingers, wrists, ankles, and feet.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. The immune system serves to protect the body from viruses and bacteria. When it attacks your joints—mistaking it for harmful foreign substances—it causes swelling and extreme pain to the point of immobility.
While symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis will vary from case to case, generally, flare-ups will last for several weeks to a few months. Joints become painful, warm, and swollen with obvious reddening in the affected area. If one joint is affected by rheumatoid arthritis, the opposite joint is bound to be affected as well.
Unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis has no cure. The key in managing this condition is through early detection, prevention, and pain management.
Almost 18% of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are overweight and obese. This is not a coincidence at all. In fact, several studies conclude that there is an overwhelming evidence of obesity and rheumatoid arthritis going hand in hand. But to understand how your weight and rheumatoid arthritis are related, it’s important to know what excess weight does to the body that leads to rheumatoid arthritis.
How Excess Weight Plays a Role in Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare-ups
Too much weight is not kind to the joints. When you’re overweight, it causes a lot of strain on the joints. Each step you take is like putting three to five times of our body weight on the hips, knees, and ankles. Constant stress from weight weakens the knees, joints, ankles, and hips. Over time, the extra weight causes inflammation to the joints. Unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis progresses extremely fast. Once you develop the condition, it will become more painful as it develops.
How Weight Loss Can Minimize Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare-ups
The good news is that rheumatoid arthritis caused by excess weight can be reversed. The principle is that for every pound you lose, you remove 3 pounds of stress on your knees and 6 pounds of stress on the hips. By losing weight, you take off an enormous amount of stress off your joints!
Even better, you don’t even need to lose half your body weight to ease rheumatoid arthritis pains! Just by losing 20 pounds or more, you will feel pronounced pain relief from rheumatoid arthritis.
Losing weight does the body a lot of good besides easing arthritis pains. By shedding off pounds, you give the body time to repair the joints caused by excessive weight. Slimming down also stops the progression of the disease right on its tracks. In one study, a group of obese men lost their weight and decreased the progression of osteoarthritis by up to 21.5%. In the same study where obese women lost excess weight, the progression of osteoarthritis was cut down by a jaw-dropping 31%.
If you have not developed rheumatoid arthritis but are overweight, slimming down could help cut the risk of developing the condition. Losing just 10 pounds of weight helps cut down the disk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by up to 50%!