It’s no secret that obesity rates have been on the rise, not just in the United States, but around the world. And, far from being just a cosmetic issue, this development also poses a lot of severe health concerns. In addition to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, researchers have recently discovered obesity can contribute to the development of a painful condition that may interfere with aging gracefully: rheumatoid arthritis.

According to a study released by the Mayo Clinic last April, clinicians reviewed the medical histories of hundreds of patients that were supplied by the Rochester Epidemiology Project in New York state.

Based on these records, the researchers were able to establish a link between obesity and the increased number of rheumatoid arthritis cases among women over the course of 20 years. The report states that more than half of the females who developed this painful condition between 1985 and 2007 were also found to be clinically obese.

While doctors involved with the study do have some idea of how the two issues may be connected, it is still unclear what the direct relationship it.

“We know that fat tissues and cells produce substances that are active in inflammation and immunity,” Dr. Eric Matteson, a co-author of the report, stated. But, beyond that, Matteson explained that the driving force for this development is unknown.

Perhaps one of the frustrating aspects of this report is that rheumatoid arthritis can severely inhibit an individual’s mobility, so overweight individuals with this condition will have even more difficulty losing weight through regular exercise later on. However, a lot of people already struggle with this dilemma even before the onset of a physically limiting condition like arthritis.

For overweight individuals, the decision to slim down to a healthy body weight can have a number of substantial health benefits, and can greatly improve their quality of life. The Longevity Centres of America provides medical weight loss in Houston and Denver.