Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Impact Of Body Weight On The Progression Of Knee Osteoarthritis

Date:
December 13, 2004
Source:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Summary:
To better understand the effect of body weight on the course of knee OA, researchers at Boston University focused on an important predictor of disease progression: limb malalignment, defined by joint space loss at the point where the thigh and shin bones connect to the knee.

A painful and sometimes crippling disease characterized by progressive cartilage loss, osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee affects an estimated 6 percent of adults over age 30. At present, no treatments are available that have been shown to impede the destructive course of this disease, apart from knee replacement surgery. Numerous studies have shown that being overweight increases the risk of developing knee OA, whose sufferers, on average, tend to be heavy. While doctors routinely advise patients to lose weight, researchers have yet to affirm the benefits of weight loss to prevent ongoing joint deterioration.

Related Articles


To better understand the effect of body weight on the course of knee OA, researchers at Boston University focused on an important predictor of disease progression: limb malalignment, defined by joint space loss at the point where the thigh and shin bones connect to the knee. Featured in the December 2004 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), their findings suggest that the benefits of weight loss for knee OA patients depend on the degree of alignment in the affected leg.

The researchers recruited their subjects from two studies on quality of life conducted by the Veterans Administration of the Boston Health Care System. 228 individuals with knee OA were selected; all but one completed a 30-month period of follow-up. 41 percent were women and the mean age was 66 years. Among the subjects, the diagnosis of OA was confirmed by radiographs in 394 knees. At the first follow-up examination, each subject was assessed for degree of alignment in the affected leg, which was then categorized as moderate, severe, or neutral. Malaligned limbs could be either varus (bowlegged) or valgus (knock-kneed). The body mass index (BMI) of each subject was also computed.

Of the total 394 knees studied, 90 showed disease progression. Weight gain did have a significant impact. For each 2-unit increase in BMI, researchers found an 8 percent increase in the risk of disease progression. However, this effect was limited to knees in the moderately malaligned legs. In neutrally aligned legs on the one end of the spectrum and severely maligned legs on the other, body weight had no measurable effect on the risk of OA progression. "The effect of BMI on progression was different at different levels of alignment, with the risk being much greater for limbs with moderate malalignment," affirms the study's author, David T. Felson, M.D.

Why would the impact of body weight on knee OA be restricted to legs where malalignment was moderate? Dr. Felson offers possible reasons. In patients with severe malalignment, the extreme stress already placed on local cartilage may be the only risk factor required for continued structural deterioration. In patients with neutrally aligned limbs, the increased joint loading that accompanies increased body weight would be distributed across much of the joint surface, thus protecting against further damage. Since moderate alignment increases the stress on cartilage, the addition of excess weight effectively works to aggravate the cartilage damage. For these patients, losing weight might relieve the stress and considerably slow disease progression.

"Our findings, which need to be confirmed in other studies, suggest that prevention and treatment efforts for obesity and knee OA could be efficiently targeted to those subjects with moderate malalignment," Dr. Felson concludes. "These findings may have broad implications not just for the effect of body weight on OA, but for other risk factors that affect joint loading."

###

Article: "The Effect of Body Weight on Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis Is Dependent on Alignment," David T. Felson, Joyce Goggins, Jingbo Niu, Yuquing Zhang, and David J. Hunter, Arthritis & Rheumatism, December 2004; 50:12; pp. 3904-3909.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "The Impact Of Body Weight On The Progression Of Knee Osteoarthritis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041203092018.htm>.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. (2004, December 13). The Impact Of Body Weight On The Progression Of Knee Osteoarthritis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041203092018.htm
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "The Impact Of Body Weight On The Progression Of Knee Osteoarthritis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041203092018.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins