+ fighting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
Nearly 8 million Americans currently live with implants from hip or knee replacement surgery. Total joint arthroplasty, the technical term for joint replacement, continues to help improve the quality of life for middle-age individuals and senior adults who suffer from limitations commonly associated with osteoarthritis: chronic pain, reduced range of motion and ultimately, a sedentary lifestyle. Half of all patients who receive new joints now are under age 65, which represents a significant change from even a decade ago.
Problems associated with reduced mobility can lead to or worsen other more serious complications, namely diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the number of total joint surgeries nationally is projected to grow by nearly 700% by 2030. Additionally, nearly half of all American adults develop knee osteoarthritis during their lifetime, and more than 90% of people who have hip or knee replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction in pain in the affected joint according to studies.
Despite such great results and significant innovation in surgical techniques in recent years, many patients continue to live through pain and elect to not have surgery.
An unfortunate cycle often causes a patient to delay having much-needed joint replacement surgery. A lack of mobility reduces activity, which leads to weight gain and significant health problems such as uncontrolled blood pressure, cardiac disease, or uncontrolled diabetes—all preventing a success surgery. Many patients find they can’t overcome these problems to a great enough degree to have surgery because their joints hurt too much to increase their level of exercise.
AAOS research also shows that obesity is one of the most common diseases that adversely affects bone and joint health.
There is hope, however, for individuals who want to get healthy enough to undergo joint replacement surgery and become more active after they complete physical therapy and rehabilitation. Here are some of the most important and effective things patients should do when preparing for joint replacement:
MAKE SIMPLE CHANGES TO YOUR DIET
Eliminate or greatly reduce processed foods by focusing on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meat high in protein. Consider ditching sugary drinks and alcohol, and up your water intake. To satiate cravings for sweet drinks, limit it to fruit juices or energy drinks and only drink one per day. Weight loss starts with a healthy diet, and typically patients should have a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 40 for optimal surgical outcomes.
KICK THE SMOKING HABIT
Smoking cessation is one of the most important ways to enhance quality of life and ensure a successful surgery. Though difficult, it will help improve heart and lung functions and limit the likelihood of complications. Cutting out high-risk factors like smoking reduces the odds of having problems during or after an operation.
BEGIN A LIGHT EXERCISE PROGRAM
Even though it may be difficult at first, starting a low-resistance, low-stress exercise routine can improve cardiovascular function enough to withstand the rigors of major surgery and the recovery afterward. Pool therapy is an excellent way to increase pulse rate and improve fitness without putting too much stress on bad joints. Hydrotherapy, such as walking, swimming, or static exercises (such as body squats) in a pool, will provide a nice workout without pressuring joints.
FIND A PHYSICIAN THAT OFFERS A “PRE-HAB” PROGRAM
Rehab is critical after surgery on muscles or bones. A comprehensive pre-habilitation program is just as vital to helping prepare your body and mind for surgery. Understanding what to expect after surgery, knowing the types of alterations you should make before and after surgery, and informing family, friends, and caretakers of how they can help your recovery is a cornerstone of a well-rounded approach to surgery.
Making basic lifestyle modifications can help reverse the cycle of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in order to undergo total joint replacement surgery and begin a healthier, more active life free of pain.
For more information about total joint replacement and how you can have same-day surgery to begin recovery at home, call Dr. Patrick Toy with Campbell Clinic at 901.759.5537 or visit campbellclinic.com.