Weight Loss Seems to Spare Knee Cartilage
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Saturday, February 20, 2016 12:00 AM

Weight loss saves knee cartilage.

The loss of 10% of body weight slowed degeneration of knee cartilage among overweight or obese patients.  In a retrospective imaging study, those who lost more weight had a greater reduction in the rate of cartilage layer damage as measured by T2 on MRI.  ”Substantial weight loss not only slows knee joint degeneration, it also reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis,” said the study author. "The studies show there is a protective aspect of weight loss on knee cartilage. Weight loss may slow or prevent osteoarthritis."

The study assessed 506 patients who were enrolled in the Osteoarthritis Initiative. During the 4-year study, 177 patients lost between 5% and 10% of their body weight and 76 patients lost more than 10% of body weight. The 253 patients who didn't lose weight served as controls.

Researchers found that those who lost more weight had less cartilage damage over time. Patients who didn't lose weight had a 0.9-point increase in T2 measurements over 4 years, and those who lost 5% to 10% of their body weight had about the same increase.

But those who lost at least 10% of their body weight had an increase of less than 0.4 points in T2 score, for a 55.6% reduction in the rate of cartilage layer damage, Gersing said.

The effect of weight loss was even more pronounced when looking specifically at media tibia cartilage. The T2 increase among those who did not lose weight was 1.1 points over 4 years, and it was about 0.8 points among those who lost 5% to 10% of their body weight.

Degenerative joint disease is a major cause of pain and disability in our population, and obesity is a significant risk factor. Once cartilage is lost in osteoarthritis, the disease cannot be reversed.

It is important to be able to quantify that if you lose weight, your joints are going to do better.

Source:  http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/RSNA/54970