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Published on September 29, 2020

How Can Addressing COVID-19 Health Risks Improve Joint Health?

How Can Addressing COVID-19 Health Risks Improve Joint Health?

According to John L. Graves, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff, actively reducing COVID-19 risks like obesity with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes have many upsides. People can improve the health of their bones, tendons, ligaments and joints, reduce chances of surgical complications and improve overall health.

New research finds the risk of severe illness or complications from COVID-19 notably increases for people who are obese, smoke or vape or who have diabetes. Lifestyle changes can go a long way towards reducing risk and improving outcomes.

“Many of the same risk factors for COVID-19 put you at risk for a wide range of health problems, including issues with joints,” shares Dr. Graves. “By eating healthier, watching calorie consumption and exercising regularly, you can take control of your health now and as you age.”

“As a result of our obesity epidemic, I am seeing more younger people with joint problems or who need joint replacement surgery,” shares Dr. Graves. “Among obese patients, joint surgery takes longer, there are more technical challenges, and long-term surgical success is often more difficult to achieve."

As people age, their metabolism and ability to burn calories slows down. At the same time, working adults often spend most of their time sitting or standing. Dr. Graves believes when people understand how small excesses over time can lead to weight gain, they can improve their health.

“Consuming 100 calories per day more than you burn off leads to a weight gain of 10 pounds a year (100 pounds over 10 years),” concludes Dr. Graves. “We can all benefit from being careful about what and how much we eat, exercising regularly and considering activities like weight training to build muscle mass.”

About the Author

John L. Graves, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff.