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Muscle mass, BMI and osteoarthritis

November 27, 2017
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Residents with osteoarthritis (OA) can benefit from retaining muscle mass, but body mass index (BMI) scores aren’t enough to determine the impact on quality of life, notes a new data published in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Using data from 358 people (mean age of 63.4) participating in a three-year knee and hip osteoarthritis cohort study, researchers compared quality of life, pain and function scores to different types of body mass, including skeletal muscle mass, fat mass and the general body mass index (BMI).

While BMI was an important factor, the low lean mass measurements and fat mass index (FMI) also were important predictors of quality of life and function, the study found. Participants with low lean mass were more significantly impaired by increased pain and lower function even when BMI was normal. High FMI scores correlated with higher pain scores and lower function.

Low lean mass can inhibit efforts to maintain quality of life and pain levels in osteoarthritis and should be considered in addition to BMI, the authors wrote. “Conserving muscle mass in people with OA could have functional and antalgic benefits especially for those with normal BMI.”

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