It is widely known that Americans are involved in an obesity epidemic, leading/contributing to a wide array of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Quality of life problems, such as arthritis of the hip and knee are prevalent- while outcomes for hip/knee replacements are negatively affected by obesity. During the past decade, researchers have been discovering surprising information regarding obesity resulting in more obscure problems.

As it pertains to the shoulder, studies have conclusively found that obesity negatively impacts the results of rotator cuff repairs. Obese patients heal slower, experience more pain and loss of motion, with an increased likelihood of repair failure. A new report confirms that even in shoulder replacement (Total Shoulder Arthroplasty or TSA) for arthritis, the results are worse in obese patients than those of normal BMI (body mass index). There is also an increased risk of need for revision surgery and higher rates of infection.

Aside from obvious health issues in patients with obesity, there is a push to drastically increase insurance premiums for these individuals given the higher use of medical services. If the future finds the United States’ healthcare in a one payer system, those with an elevated BMI may very well be denied various procedures, given the higher complication rates and cost of care, illustrating the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle.

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