Knee osteoarthritis is a common problem in overweight or obese people. It drastically affects the life of quality and creates difficulties such as stiff joints, immobility and increase in knee pain. People go through surgeries and other treatments to decrease the intensity of osteoarthritis.
Fortunately obese and overweight people suffering from knee osteoarthritis may get benefit from combined exercise and intensive diet regime rather than practicing diet or exercise alone. This has been shown in one trial made on the patients of osteoarthritis. In this trial the researchers found that these two effective approaches improved knee function, reduced knee pain, increase the walking speed and the quality of life. This cannot be achieved by doing only exercise but it is equally important to follow a proper diet. It helps in reducing weight up to significant levels which is highly beneficial for overweight osteoarthritis knee patients.
A study on 454 adults of age 55 years and above having a body mass index of 27 and 41 kg/m2 was done by the Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis (IDEA). The participants were those who suffered from radiographic osteoarthritis in one or both the knees which was mild to moderate. The individuals even followed a sedentary lifestyle.
There were three interventions:
• Intensive weight loss
• A goal of losing 10 to 15% of baseline weight by calorie restriction, aiming for the intake of energy deficit of 800 to 1000 Kcal per day.
• Exercise comprising aerobic walking as well as strength training for at least one hour, three times in a week for about 18 months.
They were made to follow one of these three interventions randomly. They were examined for about 6 or 18 months. About 88% individuals completed the study. The researchers compared the results got from the three groups and interventions ranging from 54% to 70%.
In the first outcome peak knee joint compressive force reduced by following only diet that was 265N, 10% improvement over baseline. Groups that followed only exercise made improvement by only 5% that is 148N. Lastly the group taking diet along with exercise being intermediate experienced an improvement of 230N that is by 9%.
The plasma levels of interleukin–6 were also found significantly higher in the group who only exercised as compared to diet alone group or diet plus exercise groups. When all the groups were compared it was found that individuals who followed diet as well as exercise had less pain as compared to the other groups. The extents of patients with less or no pain at 18 months were 38%, 20%, and 22%, respectively.
This group also enjoyed other benefits related to mobility, knee function and weight loss as well as other benefits associated with quality of life.
Weight loss helps to improve the quality of life especially in a person suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Intensive weight loss helps to achieve anti–inflammatory and biomechanical benefits when combined with exercise. Patients get the benefit of long term weight loss of more than 10%. They also experience improvement in their symptoms greater than with either intervention alone.