Between medication side effects and the challenges of life with lupus, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Battling a lupus flare? The steroids often used to battle lupus can cause people to gain weight. And, even when not flaring, symptoms such as arthritic joints, fatigue, and pain can make it hard to exercise.
Despite these challenges, it is important to be aware of the added health risks associated with obesity. A couple of new research studies have explored the challenges that being obese can add for a person living with lupus. The results show that obesity impacts patient reported outcomes, disease activity, and symptoms.
What is obesity?
The terms ‘obese’ and ‘overweight’ both mean that a person’s weight is not healthy given a person’s height. However, obesity is specifically having too much body fat (as opposed to muscle, body water, or bone).
One of the ways body fat is analyzed is by using the body mass index (BMI). A person’s BMI is calculated by dividing body mass by the square of a person’s height. Or, to make it easier, there are online BMI calculators.
There are 4 common classifications of BMI. They are:
- Underweight (under 18.5 kg/m^2)
- Normal weight (18.5 – 25 kg/m^2)
- Overweight (25 – 30 kg/m^2)
- Obese (Over 30 kg/m^2)
By itself, obesity has negative impacts on health, including increasing a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and arthritis.