Being Obese Makes Arthritis Difficult To Diagnose

People that are overweight or obese suffer from all kinds of pain, including joint pain. Many times, when they visit their doctor and they do a blood test, these tests can be thrown off by obesity in women, a new study suggests.

“Physicians might assume that high levels of inflammation mean that a patient has rheumatoid arthritis or that their rheumatoid arthritis requires more treatment, when in fact, a mild increase in levels of inflammation could be due to obesity instead,” explained study author Dr. Michael George, who’s with the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia.

woman with knee painBlood tests for C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) can help physicians check the severity of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, the researchers said.

Previous studies have suggested that obese women may normally have higher CRP and ESR levels. So, the authors of this study decided to take a closer look at the issue.

The study included information from more than 2,100 people with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers then compared that information to data from the general population.