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How do the extra kilograms affect us?

Stefan Tserovski, MD

What is obesity?

Obesity is defined as a BMI over 30 (BMI 25–30 kg/m2) According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of obesity has tripled since 1975 and is becoming an increasingly relevant health problem in the population.

What is the musculoskeletal problem?

Most people know that being overweight (obese) increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and sleep apnea. But a large proportion of the population is unaware of the effects of increased body mass on the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints and muscles.

Excess kilos put additional strain on the joints. Simply put, the body cannot "carry" more weight than it is genetically designed to carry. The most common injuries affect the hip joints, knees and lower back. Pain occurs and the normal functioning of these joints is disturbed. There is scientific evidence that obesity accelerates the processes of "wearing out" of articular cartilage.

How does it affect bones and joints?

At the joints of the lower extremities (usually the knee joints), from a biomechanical point of view, every additional kilogram increases by three to four kilograms, especially during movement and even more so when climbing stairs or sporting activities.

Obesity is one of the main causes of degenerative arthritis. In obese people, the risk of articular cartilage damage is about 7 times higher than in people of normal weight.

There is evidence for the role of obesity in hormonal dysregulation leading to biochemical changes that accelerate the "wearing out" of articular cartilage. The increased number of fat cells releases pro-inflammatory components that cause irreversible degenerative processes in the joints.

Are there other risks of being overweight?

Obesity is one of the main causes of complications in the surgical treatment of joint arthrosis or arthroplasty. The risk of infections, thromboembolic events during and after surgical treatment is increased. Obese patients have a higher risk of joint dislocation after surgery. They take longer to recover and return to normal physical activity.

How to solve this problem?

Fight against excess body mass: If the BMI decreases by just 2 units, the risk of developing joint osteoarthritis decreases by 50%. Weight control options: diet, exercise, bariatric surgery.

Stay healthy!

Stefan Tserovski completed his school education at the 91st German Language High School in 2009. In 2016 he graduated from Medical University - Sofia. In 2019 he defended a dissertation on "Surgical dislocation of the hip joint in children and adolescents". He is currently a specialist in "Orthopaedics and Traumatology" at USBALO "Prof. Boycho Boychev” and assistant at the Medical University - Sofia, where he is actively engaged in teaching. He is the author of over 20 scientific papers. The team www.ortoped.bg

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