Arthritis in the knee and hip is a leading cause of pain and disability, particularly for older people. Doctors sometimes recommend replacement of the joints with prosthetic devices. They advise patients to drop some pounds before undergoing the surgical procedure.
Weight control can be challenging. The federal government recently announced new regulations, to take effect in late 2015, that might help people monitor their dietary habits. Calorie information will be required on food menus at restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and other establishments. The Food and Drug Administration’s new rules will even apply to movie theaters and vending machines, the Washington Post reported.
“Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home, and people today expect clear information about the products they consume,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg. She explained that the new regulations will make it easier to make healthy choices.
The Post noted that, for years, advocates of “transparency” in food labeling have been urging government officials to enact such regulations.
“I consider this an enormous advance for public-health education and well worth the long wait,” Marion Nestle, a nutrition expert and professor at New York University, told the newspaper. “This is great news for public health and, hopefully, an incentive to restaurants to reformulate their offerings to be lower in calories.”
The calorie-listing requirement is a provision of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law also known as Obamacare. It took four years for the government to draft the rules, as consumer organizations pushed for stringent regulations and industry groups lobbied against any mandates.
The debate resulted in a plan to apply the calorie-posting requirement only to restaurant chains with 20 or more locations. Daily specials, seasonal foods and mixed drinks are among exempted items, according to the Post.
Pain resulting from arthritis in the knee and hip often can be treated without surgery. Many people relieve their discomfort and improve function in their joints by taking anti-inflammatory medication and receiving physical therapy. Exercises are designed to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion.
When such treatments fail to provide relief, full or partial replacement of a knee and hip may be needed to restore full function. In 2011, nearly a million people received knee and hip replacements in the United States. Also known as arthroplasty, it is one of the most common musculoskeletal surgical procedures, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
Doctors generally advise obese or overweight patients to shed some pounds before having the operation. Excess weight increases the risks of surgery, and places too much stress on reconstructed joints, the AAOS explained.
Weeks or months before having surgery, it’s a good idea to engage in a weight-loss program featuring a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Regular exercise and reduced alcohol consumption also are recommended.
If you are experiencing knee and hip pain due to arthritis, schedule an appointment for an evaluation by the nationally renowned sports medicine surgeons at Orthopedic Surgery San Diego to learn about ways to relieve the discomfort and regain full use of your joints.