For the first time, a direct link between overweight and obesity in causing and aggravating osteoarthritis through a metabolic action, regardless of the joint overload caused by the excess weight, has been established. This is especially relevant when you consider that around 60% of Spain’s population has a Body Mass Index (BMI) above the healthy range.

The basis of this connection is rooted in the endocrinological nature of white adipose tissue, which releases inflammatory substances directly involved in cartilage degradation, in synovitis and in the stimulation of pain receptors. Therefore, a differentiated treatment approach is required for patients with metabolic osteoarthritis (overweight and obesity) and for osteoarthritis patients without any metabolic comorbidity. In the latter case, focusing the treatment on reducing pain and improving mobility and the patient’s quality of life is recommended. Conversely, in patients suffering from metabolic arthritis, we must be more careful with the treatment because – besides acting on the joint – we should be able to nullify metabolic factors that aggravate the joint pathology (as in the case of leptin, among others) in overweight or obese patients.

In addition to the breakthrough that is the definition of metabolic arthritis as a new diagnostic profile, all the latest developments aimed at improving joint health will be discussed this week at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR), one of the major worldwide events in this field, to be held in Paris from 11 to 14 June.

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