Arthritis Triggered By Obesity Hormone?

Arthritis may be triggered by an obesity hormone that can aggravate joints.

walkerResearchers have long observed that obesity can trigger joint problems. But, now doctors are saying osteoarthritis may have causes beyond weight alone.

Researchers from Duke University have found that the rapid production of leptin may aggravate joints. Leptin is a hormone that regulates appetite, and obese people have it in high levels. The research indicates that this hormone can have an influence on inflammation and bone metabolism.

People with osteoarthritis often experience extreme joint pain caused by the breakdown of cartilage in between bones. Some researchers have noted that carrying excess weight can grind down the cartilage and speed the onset of arthritis.

But, it could be an increase in leptin that is actually wearing down the cartilage. For example, previous studies indicate that obese people are more likely to get osteoarthritis in their hands, even though hands don’t bear weight the way legs do. Again, this points to a chemical like leptin.

Right now, the researchers at Duke University are conducting tests with mice to find out whether disabling the production of leptin can protect the mice from osteoarthritis. They hope the findings will eventually lead to better treatment for us humans.

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