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Joints Take A Pounding From Excess Pounds

Obesity's impact on the joints

Being overweight can wreak havoc on your joints. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, affects 27 million people in the United States and is a leading cause of disability among adults. Unfortunately, those numbers are increasing in direct correlation with the country's obesity epidemic.

Osteoarthritis primarily affects the weight-bearing joints - hips and knees - as well as your spine and feet. Excess weight can strain and damage joints, causing pain and stiffness. Health experts estimate that for every 10 pounds of excess body weight, the force of impact on the hips and knees increases 30 to 60 pounds with each step.

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joint with repetitive use, while exercising or climbing stairs, for example, or when simply bending and moving the joint. Other symptoms include swelling, warmth, and creaking of the affected joint.

Because excess body weight can play a big role in the development osteoarthritis, as well as other health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and prediabetes, it's important to know whether or not you are at a healthy weight. One helpful tool for determining that is knowing your BMI, or body mass index.

Use a free BMI calculator here.