While there has been much research done regarding weight gain and the different causes of it, arthritis and weight gain tend to have a not-so-friendly relationship. This phenomenon of weight gain and arthritis is much like the chicken and the egg theory. Which comes first? Well, while research is not readily available to suggest outright that arthritis causes weight gain, there are some theories that having arthritis can lead to weight gain due to other possible risk factors.
Listed here are some of the causes of weight gain associated with arthritis:
Medications - The most commonly prescribed medications by physicians for arthritis are corticosteroids which, like all medications, have side effects. Two of the side effects of corticosteroids are weight gain and swelling of the fingers, hands, feet and the lower legs. (http://www.drugs.com/sfx/prednisone-side-effects.html) So, if you see an increase of the digits on the scale while taking this type of medication that could be why.
Depression - As we know depression is a comorbidity associated with any disease process that causes pain and can lead to weight gain and rheumatoid arthritis problems as well.
Decrease in physical activity & exercise - Because of the pain that arthritis can bring, many people who suffer from arthritis tend to become less physically active which will inevitably increase weight and also add more stress to already-stressed joints.
So what is a person to do when they are faced with this challenge and is there any hope for warding off the pounds?
Listed below are some different ways to deal with weight gain associated with arthritis:
Get up and get moving! - While exercising & physical activity is the most obvious answer to weight gain, it is not always the most used by people with arthritis due to the pain that they feel is associated with doing so. Research has shown that exercising actually increases your overall cartilage and joint health which can decrease the levels of pain you may be experiencing.
Be social - Since being alone will increase your chances of becoming depressed, being around people will significantly increase your chances of feeling good. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2860146/) Social events can include anything from taking a walk in the park with a friend to visiting your local library and joining a reading club. Having someone to talk to will move you in the right direction with alleviating some of the symptoms of depression and will further reduce your chances of unplanned weight gain.
Eat clean- Here's another of the obvious things you can do to decrease your chances of weight gain. Eating a healthier diet filled with fruits and vegetables will cause your body to respond positively to them and curb cravings that you may feel. (http://www.livestrong.com/healthy-eating/) Eating a diet rich in nutrients that your body needs will not only help you dieting losing weight but also will make you feel better overall.
Gaining weight does not have to be inevitable for you. If you feel that you have no other outlets or have no motivation to do any of the things listed here, be sure to find support groups who can you along your journey. Remember, you're not the only person that has dealt with these issues and there are plenty of ways around gaining unplanned weight. You're encouraged to consult your physician if you have any questions concerning your health as he/she can help to further lead you in the right direction