Arthritis and Weight

This week we bring you another update from the European rheumatology conference held in Madrid (EULAR) which was attended by our pharmacist Carolyn Whiskin. 

When a person carries excess weight, there is an increase in the production of inflammatory substances referred to as cytokines. In addition, excess weight on joints leads to a bio-mechanical stress resulting in micro damage to the joints. In one study where patients had a BMI (body mass index) of 33 or greater, they were put on a restricted diet for 12-16 weeks. More food was slowly re-introduced thereafter. At the end of six months the average BMI dropped to 30 and measures of fatigue, inflammation disease activity and quality-of-life all significantly improved. In addition, blood pressure, lipids and blood sugar levels all improved with weight loss. It is well known that higher BMI leads to greater tender and swollen joints and increased levels of inflammation measured in the blood. Higher BMI equates to higher disease activity including skin involvement in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Treatments such as anti-TNF biologic therapies do not work as well in obese patients. This speaks to the importance of weight-loss being part of a treatment regimen for all types of inflammatory arthritis.


Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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