Weight loss in senior citizens can reduce symptoms as well as the pain of knee arthritis. Recent research shows that seniors can really help their knee arthritis by losing at least 20% of their weight.
Studies show that millions of older adults have stiff, painful knees caused by arthritis. This disease causes a breakdown of the cushion of tissue inside the knee joint. Without this cushion, bone can rub against bone. That may cause pain and swelling. Being overweight can make the symptoms worse.
Weight Loss: Expert Advice For Seniors With Knee Arthritis
Experts generally advise older adults who are overweight or obese to lose at least 10% of their weight to reduce symptoms of knee arthritis.
Recently, a National Institute of Health (NIH) funded research team asked whether a 20% weight loss among seniors would help reduce their pain symptoms even more.
The study included 240 overweight and obese adults over 55 years of age, with painful knee arthritis. The research team helped them to exercise and diet to lose weight.
The researchers then compared the people who lost 20% or more body weight with those who lost 5%. The people who lost 20% or more reported less pain. They could walk farther in a 6-minute test. In addition, blood tests revealed a much lower level of a substance related to pain and inflammation.
“The importance of our study is that a weight loss of 20% or greater—double the previous standard—results in better clinical outcomes and is achievable without surgical or pharmacologic intervention,” said lead researcher Stephen P. Messier at Wake Forest University.
As a follow up to this study, Dr. Messier’s team plans to enroll three times as many people for their next study. The hope is that achieving even greater weight reduction in the seniors population will improve their health even more.