Obesity goes hand-in-hand with a host of chronic ailments, which are called comorbidities by doctors. Examples of obesity comorbidities include type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), sleep apnea, and heart disease, among others.
Comorbidity to obesity that isn’t often talked about is knee osteoarthritis. Imagine every move you make causing severe knee pain. That’s what it’s like to live with knee osteoarthritis (or simply knee arthritis). The condition can not only make everyday tasks seem unbearable, but it can also limit your health. Knee osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in older adults and, along with obesity, is closely associated with early death.
Obesity contributes to knee osteoarthritis – and the pain it causes – by putting immense pressure on the internal structures of the knee. Being only ten pounds overweight, for example, can put an extra 15 to 50 pounds of pressure on the knee joints. Over time, that pressure can lead to severe pain. While primary doctors may be quick to prescribe medications to treat the pain associated with knee arthritis, it’s far better to treat the source. That is, to lose weight through any means possible.
Treatment for Knee Pain
Doctors will often recommend nonsurgical obesity treatments initially to encourage patients to lose weight, which could help to alleviate knee pain. The problem is that obesity isn’t a choice, it’s a disease, and one that isn’t so easy to treat.
Regular diet and exercise alone, which comprise most nonsurgical weight loss techniques, simply do not work for some obese individuals. A slowed metabolism and other factors like stress-eating make it extremely difficult for the obese to make any significant weight loss progress. Some pounds may come off, but they usually flood right back. This in turn can lead to depression and anxiety, making it even harder to fight the condition of obesity.
Weight loss surgery can help obese men and women lose weight permanently. By dropping the excess pounds, and relieving the pressure on your knees, you could also feel less pain. Here is all you need to know about weight loss surgery, its effects on obesity, and how surgery can help treat the painful condition known simply as knee arthritis.
How Does Obesity Cause Knee Osteoarthritis?
When you become overweight, the excess pounds begin to weigh heavily on your knees, no pun intended. Over time, you can begin to experience arthritic symptoms like severe pain and limited mobility.
The pain can make life unbearable. Standing from a seated position, carrying heavy objects, and doing everyday activities like climbing stairs can cause the pain to flare. This can lead to you remaining seated for long periods of time, which is detrimental to your health.
Obesity contributes to osteoarthritis, which can also exist in your back, hips, neck, and hands, by causing the wear of cartilage that exists within your knee joints. The immense pressure on your knees causes this cartilage to diminish over time. With less cartilage, your bones may rub together, leading to bone spurs and eventually pain.
How Does Bariatric Surgery Help You Lose Weight?
Bariatric or weight loss surgery is the most effective treatment we have for the condition of obesity. When every effort has been made to lose weight through non-surgical means, weight loss surgery can aid you in dropping the excess pounds by enacting certain changes within the body.
Your stomach is first made smaller. This is the case with procedures like the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass. Even lap band surgery, which is less often used, constricts your stomach. This alteration contributes to you eating less.
You may think that by eating less, you might end up feeling deprived. However, weight loss surgery also affects changes to the hunger and satiety hormones within the body. You’ll feel less hungry and feel fuller much quicker following weight loss surgery. This is the case with the gastric sleeve, which can contribute to a rapid loss of excess weight.
With the gastric bypass, your smaller stomach is rerouted to your large intestine, bypassing the small intestine. It will further contributes to you consuming fewer calories from the foods you eat.
The surgery you have will depend on your level of obesity or morbid obesity, your health, and the recommendations given by your bariatric surgeon.
How much weight you can lose with weight loss surgery varies depending on several factors, including which surgery you have. Overall, you can expect to lose at least 30% to 50% of your excess weight in the first six months following surgery. If you suffered from knee osteoarthritis before the procedure, you could begin feeling less pain quickly after the weight starts coming off.
Is Bariatric Surgery an Effective Treatment for Knee Arthritis?
Doctors say that for every pound you lose, you experience a four-pound reduction in the amount of pressure placed on the knee. Following significant weight loss, arthritis could be sent entirely into remission.
Keep in mind that if your knee was severely diminished over a long period of time, knee surgery or a complete knee reconstruction may be the only way to alleviate the pain you feel. The good news is that losing a significant amount of weight through bariatric surgery has been shown to increase the longevity of complete knee replacements.
Less Knee Pressure, Less Pain
Assuming your knees are still in good shape, after weight loss surgery and by feeling less pain, you’ll find everyday tasks more tolerable, even enjoyable. Things like getting out of bed and standing from a seated position will become much easier.
Greater Mobility, More Energy & Boosted Quality of Life
When you don’t feel pain on a daily basis, you won’t be relegated to sitting all day. You’ll be active enough to experience all that life has to offer. You’ll feel more invigorated, more alive, with your new slimmer waist and all the apparel you’ll have to buy after the weight comes off.
Weight Loss Surgery Helps with Obesity Comorbidities
There are greater benefits to weight loss surgery than the alleviation of knee pain. Bariatric surgery can also help to treat the following comorbidities:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Heart disease
- Early death
This means, to put it another way, weight loss surgery may be the best thing you can do for your health, quality of life, and longevity.
Schedule a Consultation with a Weight Loss Surgeon
If you experience obesity-related knee pain, you could benefit from the amazing benefits of weight loss surgery. The first step is to schedule a consultation with a bariatric surgeon like Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki of Healthy Life Bariatrics. A professional recommendation by Dr. Moeinolmolki for weight loss surgery could be the ticket to significant weight loss and pain-free life.
Dr. Moeinolmolki offers confidential and private consultations via telehealth medicine (video chat) as well as in-person meetings. Choose the type of consult you are most comfortable with and call today in Los Angeles, Encino, or Glendale, California.