HealthWatch: Beating knee osteoarthritis


More than 250 million people worldwide suffer from knee osteoarthritis. More than half will wind up needing knee replacement surgery. Now researchers are proving diet and exercise can ease the pain and get people moving again without surgery or medication. 

Knee pain had Cathryn Sages sitting on the sidelines. 
“I was very much limiting my movement just so it wouldn’t hurt,” explained Cathryn.

She joined a study at Wake Forest University for people suffering from knee osteoarthritis.

“The main symptom is pain, decrease in quality of life, decrease in mobility,” said Stephen Messier, PhD, Professor of Health & Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem.

That first study found ten percent weight loss combined with moderate exercise decreased pain by more than half! 

“We found that for every one pound of weight that you lose was four pounds of stress on your knees,” Dr. Messier continued.

Carolyn Archie lived with knee pain for more than ten years before joining the study. 
“I’ve lost about 22 pounds, it’s amazing,” exclaimed Carolyn. 

The combination of diet and exercise let Carolyn get on the elliptical machine. 

Brad Zabel shared, “Less weight on my joints is a great thing.” 

Zabel says working out regularly and watching what he eats means a lot less ibuprofen. And when Carlene lost 14 pounds, she was able to get off her blood pressure meds. The second study showed better outcomes. 

“Twice the weight loss, twice the effect. A minimum of three times a week exercise for at least 40 to 60 minutes,” said Dr. Messier.

“I’m not saying you have to run a marathon but you can walk around the block,” Cathryn shared.
Proving a little movement can keep you moving! 

Study participants follow a calorie restricted diet and do a 20 minute walk followed by 15 minutes of strength training and then another 20 minute walk. The studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health and the hope is this program will be implemented in health systems nationwide. 

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