Member Margaret Sugden responded to the E newsletter editorial I wrote recently about the relationship of muscle strength and cognitive ability. She recommended I listen to the podcast on ABC Radio, the Health Report “Everything you ever wanted to know about osteoarthritis”, an interview by Norman Swan with Dr David Hunter, Associate Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Sydney.
In the interview, David Hunter made it quite clear that research is providing evidence to show a strong correlation between osteoarthritis and excess weight or excess body fat. He stated osteoarthritis is not really degeneration of tissue or wear and tear as a result of age. He said it is a dynamic condition that can even affect teenagers.
David made no bones about the fact that the increasing incidence of obesity and high body fat levels is affecting immune systems. High body fat ratio correlates with increased levels of inflammation in the body generally, affecting multiple joints including the hands.
Dr Hunter stated that reduction of body fat was critical in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rather than just going to a physiotherapist, he recommended that there were three main methods for people to manage the condition themselves once they fully understood the condition. He said it was important to take the fear factor out of the equation and to empower self-help. First, the patient must stay active with appropriate exercise. Second, weight management is critical with even 5% loss of body weight providing pain relief. Third, self-management of acute flare ups is allowable. i.e. short periods of time on medication to reduce tissue inflammation.
David Hunter said that on average people with osteoarthritis will have 2 to 3 days monthly when symptoms are significant and that this is when you would use anti-inflammatory medication i.e. Oral medication or, if unable to take this due to stomach ulcers, topical applications of Voltaren or Feldene.
Associate Professor David Hunter obviously believes that the selection process for hip and knee replacements should take into consideration alternatives to surgery and that the stronger the body and the less fat being carried around by that body will result in much better outcomes. If surgery is required then the rate of success from the procedure is much higher, and if exercise and weight loss reduces the need for surgery then that is even better. In some cases, where all self-management measures have failed, surgery is going to be necessary.
In my case, I self-managed my weight, exercise and pain control until I had no further choice. The wonderful side of this has been I was also in a very good place when it came to my rehabilitation.
I want to help anyone with osteoarthritis to achieve the ultimate in self-care and this is why there are so many pathways in Green Apple to achieve this.
If you know that you have extra weight in fat cells that will be attributing to the inflammatory processes going on in your body, please listen to this podcast. It is exposure to educated information that helps inspire us to take positive action to make our life better, healthier and be able to self-manage with expert help.
Once you have listened to this podcast, you may be ready to join the Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle (HEAL) group at Green Apple. Even if the HEAL course has already started, it will not be too late for you to catch up if you really want to reap the benefits of healthy weight loss.
Don’t forget about my “Give it a Go” class on Sunday, July 23 at 4pm. I had fantastic feedback from the last class I took, so make sure you don’t miss out on this one!
We are looking forward to seeing you all at the Wellbeing Day, July 27 11am-2pm. We’ve had lots of people interested in the mindfulness aspect of the day, as well as being able to try out lots of different things that you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. You will never know if something works for you or not unless you try it and this is the perfect opportunity!