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The Real Risk Of Being Hypermobile And Obese Exposed

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Being hypermobile and obese is a risk you don’t want to take. The two conditions together can heighten joint pain, worsen fatigue, and limit your mobility.

As obesity has connections with lots of medical problems, including hypertension and type 2 diabetes, you may even develop other illnesses.

Still not convinced that being hypermobile and obese is a problem? Read on, to find out more about them both and how obesity could make your hypermobile symptoms worse.

Does hypermobility cause weight gain?

Hypermobility doesn’t cause weight gain directly. 

In fact, studies have found that Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome are linked to weight loss because of the GI issues associated with them. 

Despite this, being hypermobile and obese is also common.

So, why are hypermobility and obesity linked?

  • Inactivity and reduced activity go hand in hand with hypermobility.

  • Exercises that burn a lot of calories, such as HIIT training, are not recommended for hypermobility. Instead, gentle movements, such as closed-chain exercises for hypermobility, are suggested.

  • The patient has diagnosed or undiagnosed lipedema. This condition causes a build-up of fatty deposits in the legs. It has nothing to do with diet. But a link between lipedema and obesity has been found.

  • Bad foods for hypermobility are excessively eaten.

  • The person with hypermobility oversleeps. Hypermobile people often need more sleep than non-hypermobile people. But researchers have found that the more sleep you have, the more likely you are to be obese.

Is hypermobility linked to obesity?

Yes, hypermobility is linked to obesity. A study of adolescents revealed that obesity among hypermobile participants was more common than it was in the healthy group of participants. 

Does hypermobility affect eating?

Hypermobility affects eating in several ways. Firstly, it makes people make unhealthy food choices. A hypermobile person that’s exhausted and in pain will find it tough to make healthy, fresh meals from scratch. So, it’s common for them to order takeout, eat ready meals, or snack on convenience food instead.

Another way hypermobility affects eating is that it makes people less active. Hypermobile people typically exercise less often than healthy individuals. Joint pain, fatigue, fear of joint damage, and similar are the reasons for this.

The problem is that when people are inactive, they get bored, and get the munchies. Statistics show that 45% of people snack unhealthily when they’re bored or tired.

You don’t have to snack on bad foods though as we’ve got a great post on the Best Snacks For Hypermobility that are sure to satisfy your hunger pangs.

Not everyone with hypermobility overeats. Hypermobility often causes IBS, reflux, bloating, premature fullness, and stomach sensitivity. People with these symptoms are less likely to eat as many calories as they should. And, this can impact their overall health and well-being just as much as obesity can.

What can hypermobility lead to?

The symptoms of hypermobility vary between people. They can even differ during different times of your life.

Some people with hypermobility live a relatively pain-free and problem-free life. But others experience problems that result in changes in their life. 

As a result, hypermobility can lead to:

  • Eating disorders/difficulties, including obesity and anorexia
  • Mobility problems
  • Becoming reliant on mobility aids
  • Needing daily medication
  • Having regular physiotherapy 

Does hypermobility reduce life expectancy?

Hypermobility doesn’t reduce life expectancy on its own. However, if you’re hypermobile and obese, your life expectancy may be shortened. 

Oxford University reports that moderate obesity takes an average of 3 years off the typical lifespan. Whereas, people who are severely obese have a life expectancy that’s 14 years shorter than average.

Does hypermobility make you more tired?

Hypermobility and tiredness are common. When you’re hypermobile your body has to work harder and this takes its toll. 

So the last thing you want to do is add to this fatigue by being obese. Chronic fatigue is linked to obesity. Eating unhealthy foods, as many obese people do, can also make you feel more sluggish.

What joint problems are caused by obesity?

The joints most likely to be affected by obesity are the knees and feet. These joints are often impacted by hypermobility too. The knees, in particular, are a hypermobile joint for most and are included on the Beighton Scale – AKA the test for hypermobility.

The knees and feet are at risk with obesity because they take the brunt of most of a person’s weight. The hips and back are also vulnerable.

When you’re hypermobile and obese, your knees, feet, and hips could become victims of soft tissue damage or osteoarthritis.

Bear in mind that having lax soft tissue in hypermobility is common. So, throwing obesity into the mix just increases your chances of an injury. 

Does obesity cause inflammation in joints?

The heavier you are, the more pressure and strain your joints experience. Over time, this pressure can wear down the cushioning between the joints, called cartilage, making it more prone to inflammation and damage. Again, the joints in the lower part of your body are more likely to suffer.

Additionally, fat cells can produce proteins and hormones that can lead to inflammation in the body. This chronic inflammation can also contribute to joint pain and stiffness. 

So, there you have it. Being hypermobile and obese is problematic and isn’t advisable. We understand that losing weight when you’re hypermobile can be hard. But dropping a few pounds is a great way to start and it may spur you on to lose more.

Sources:

https://www.nutrition.org.uk/news/2020/bnf-survey-reveals-stress-anxiety-tiredness-and-boredom-are-the-main-causes-of-unhealthy-eating-habits-in-lockdown/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5935449/

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/physical-side-effects-oversleeping#:~:text=Obesity.,between%20seven%20and%20eight%20hours.

Author

  • Amy

    Amy lives with hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD). She spent years not knowing what was wrong with her body, before eventually being diagnosed in her 30s. She has two young children - both of whom are hypermobile.