Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Obesity Can Cause Complications after a Joint Replacement

Obesity is a serious worldwide problem. And approximately one third of the U.S. population is obese. Experts throughout the world are continuing to investigate the disease in an attempt to develop more effective therapies to fight obesity. This work is important, since obesity increases the risks of comorbidities, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Further, some experts suggest that there is a link between obesity and Alzheimer’s. Obesity can also lead to hip and knee replacements, and an increased risk of complications after the replacements.

Of course extra body weight is going to negatively affect a person's joints by putting extra pressure on body parts. Therefore, it should be expected that obesity would be associated with increased joint replacements. Indeed, "The number of total knee replacement surgeries more than tripled between 1993 and 2009, and experts say that this is linked to the increasing rate of obesity in the United States."

Moreover, studies have shown that obesity increases the risk of complications post joint replacement. A study done at The Mayo Clinic concluded that obesity adds to the complications after hip replacements. According to the researchers, 'there is a much higher complication rate -- more than 50 percent -- in hip replacement patients regarded as superobese,'

In another study, abstracted in Pubmed, an investigation into "in-hospital complications" related to knee replacements was carried out. After looking at 4718 patients who had undergone TKA [total knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement] between the years of 2007 and 2010, the investigators concluded that 'obese patients undergoing primary TKA are at increased risk for all-cause in-hospital complications ...'

Obesity is associated with many diseases. And obesity compromises a person's joints, causing an increase in knee and hip replacements. Additionally, obesity causes an increase in complications after hip and knee transplants. Weight loss providers should work with orthopedic surgeons and other health care providers to minimize the effects of obesity and overweight before and after a joint replacement. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is Decreased Physical Activity the Main Cause of Today's Obesity?

Some investigators believe that a decrease in physical activity, over the past years, has done more to make us heavier than an increase in calorie intake. These investigators suggest that our calorie intake has not changed that much over the years. However, we think that it can be argued that while the calorie intake may not have changed over the past years, the content of our diet has changed. And this change might partially explain our weight increase. Still, the importance of exercise should be emphasized, and barriers to exercise ought to be removed.

According to some researchers, "America's growing obesity problem is mostly the consequence of its increasingly sedentary lifestyle, not its growing calorie count." For example, the researchers found that in 1944 only about eleven percent of men admitted that they got no exercise, while in 2010, approximately forty-four percent of men admitted that they got no exercise. The researchers went on to suggest that although the amount of exercise decreased during this period, calorie intake did not change.

But even if the calorie intake is about the same today as in the past, the food we eat has changed over the years.  Today's diet, for example, contains more sugar. Indeed, we are drinking more sugary soft drinks and fruit juices. So, we need to consider more than the calories in the food we eat. We need to look at the nutritional value in the food we eat.

Still, physical activity may have decreased over the years. And we should do what we can to emphasize the importance of exercise, and to remove the barriers to exercise. And these barriers do exist.

For example, one study indicates that "Local weather affects Americans' levels of exercise and their risk for obesity..." The study concludes that "Adults ... get less exercise and are more likely to be obese in counties where winters are especially cold..." And  "Many of the counties where exercise levels are lowest and obesity rates highest are in the Southeast, where summers are hot and wet..." Perhaps, making controlled environments more available might be one way to remove the "weather" barrier to exercise.

While there are many unanswered questions about diet and there are obstacles to exercise, there is little doubt that exercise and diet are important for good health. Therefore, weight loss and weight management providers should work with individuals to find the most appropriate diet-exercise combination.

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