overweight: i can not stop thinking about what my... - NRAS

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i can not stop thinking about what my doctor said to me , last friday .

he said . i was overweight and needed to ;ose a few pounds . for my height i was a stone over weight and this isnt good for my RA . i was abit shocked as i dont see myself as overweight at all , i never have . i have always being the same weight .

getting abit rattled by this point , because like i have read on here about how GP just fob you off , without doing anything for you . this is what i thought was going on here and was not going to stand for it .. all he was going to do for me was ,, to tell me to go away and loose some weight .. ( not good enough )

so i said .. weight is nothing to do with RA , if i lost weight that will do very little for my pain . what else can be done for my pain doctor ??

he then went on to say , weight and RA go together ,, since the nation is getting bigger so are the cases of RA .

i didnt know that RA was even on the increase ,,

he explain , by saying i have many RA patients in the surgery .. mainly overweight fat woman .. who are basically about 4 dress sizes greater then their should be . all that extra weight on your joints is not a good idea ,, this places stress on joints that can trigger RA flares .. obesity is a big problem for alot of reasons and RA is just one of them , so lay of the turkey abit this christmas ..

i could not believe his mannor and thought ,, if this is how he speaks to his woman patients . he would have them in tears .

i argued my point abit more , but he wasnt going to have any of it .. so in the end all i was prescribed was to loose some weight .. waste of time ..

once i got home i still couldnt believe i had come away with nothing , because i had said to myself before i went ,, do not let him fob you off ..

he did make me think abit ,, the few people i have met with RA over the last few years are all overweight . i just wished i had known somebody with RA who wasnt overweight so i could argue my point better

so the big question .. am i staying off the turkey ?? am i hell ..

will i be , seeing this doctor again ?? NOT A CHANCE .

13 Replies

if this is your BMI your GP is talking about

my GP calculated my BMI , for my height i`m 2 stone overweight ..

the BMI calculator , needs re-adjusting , everyone is overweight according to the BMI .


creeky bones I am not going to help your arguement cos i am overweight woman at present BUT when i started symptons i was at an ideal weight for my bmi, 6 months later i was a stone overweight and that has continued. I bring the subject of weight up every time i meet the gp because i am so embarrased about it and each and every time I am told that yes try and get the weight off but don't forget alot of the drugs that i am on - steroids, antidepressants, antiinflammatories, all have side effects of weight gain so don't beat myself up about it.

My mother who is 78 has ra just diagnosed in the last 6 months, she is slightly underweight and has always had a very basic healthy diet - veg, white meat, porridge etc never drank, never smoked, not known to have indulged in fatty foods. She reckons she has had ra for over a decade but it was never diagnosed it was put down to nursing my ill father. Anyway I have it alot younger and i would have indulged in all bad habits so i always wonder if i had behaved myself more in younger days i could have delayed the onset. but that is me.

I have been told time and again that diet does not bring on ra, some foods may exacerbate it.

There are a number of people on this site who cannot keep weight on, have lost loads of weight as a result of ra and there are those who are overweight. The fact that you are maybe a stone at most heavier than your bmi should not make him think that that alone could have any bearing on ra. He is detriment to people getting better.


Hi Creakybones, I'm in two minds about this to be honest. To explain, my GP was far too polite to tell me I was very overweight when I went to see him infrequently about other stuff. I have a family history of late onset diabetes so I was very concerned about my weight - but not enough to really turn my life round as much as I needed to.

When I was diagnosed with possible RA by him I decided that very day that I couldn't bear to be seen in my small home town, waddling and hobbling along with my excess weight putting a huge strain on my poor joints. Also I wasn't formally diagnosed for a further 9 months so I set about trying to get shot of whatever was ailing me by losing weight and exercising as much as I was able to. By the time I saw my rheumy a second time I had lost four stone, and the second and last time I saw him it was closer to five. Now I'm heading for the right BMI for my age and sex and am very fit - can jog on grass, lift weights and do lunges etc.

But my GP has still never commented on my weightloss? Part of me thinks that as my main health carer he should have just been more blunt with me to begin with - but another part knows that it's precisely because he wasn't that I just figured it all out properly for myself. And I'm a bright woman and he knows that so what would be the point of stressing the obvious to me? And the drugs I'm on (don't include steroids because they made me go nuts) don't affect my weight apart from over the summer when I felt sick so I lost even more!

So what I conclude is that, while the Doc Martin blunt approach maybe a more honest one for general practitioners to follow - actually - now I've written all this down - I realise that I much prefer my own gentleman GP's approach. I felt I wanted to be seen to be doing all I could to improve my own situation to him and to the rest of my family and friends. If he had said what your GP said to you (and by the sounds of it this guy's a bit of a jaded meany!) RA is not like type 2 diabetes. You can't beat it by diet and exercise alone if caught early enough.

But you can make it a hell of a lot less painful and crippling and exact more sympathy from friends and medics by being seen to try your hardest to get healthy if and when mobility permits. The trouble is for many on here and elsewhere it just doesn't. And I've seen pictures of people on here who are very trim, sometimes gaunt even, but are still suffering horribly. Also I don't think RA is increasing statistically.

So I tell myself that, despite being in drug-induced remission, my RA hasn't gone away just because I'm almost at the right body weight now. It doesn't just doesn't work like that. Some people who are fat get RA but many more get RA and then get fat because of the drugs and the immobility. If physios were more available and RA was higher up on NHS priority list then people with RA would get help with exercises and access to hydrotherapy pools and advice with when to keep moving and when to rest and help with their diet. That's the way round I think it works not that more people who are fat get RA. It's a horrible enough disease without getting blamed for landing it too! Tilda x


Hi Steve sorry to hear you had such a blunt and insensitive approach from your GP.

Ihave had different approaches to my being overweight. My GP hasnt really said anything and to be honest I am glad about that as he can be very blunt and would probably have been as insensitive towards me as yours was. When I went to him with pain in my hand in august he gave me some anti-inflammatory gel and said "you'll have to learn to live with it " eventually diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis in November.

My rheumatologist was much more sensitive and approached it by saying "Im going to say something personal now" to which I repleid I need to lose weight she agreed with this but acknowledged that the reduced mobility I was experiencing wwould not help bui that if I could lose some weight it would relieve some of the strain on my joints.

I have joined a gym gone on a healthy eating plan stopped smoking and drinking and have lost 10kg so far, although a lot more to go. I do feel much better for it all ( the steroid injection I had 7 weeks ago may have helped) but this has made me more motivated.

I saw the sister at GP's and she was very pleased with my progress and this response as well as the regular weigh ins keeps me more motivated having a couple of days off for xmas.

I also saw a research nurse who gave me very positive feedback when she noted my weight loss between the visits.

These positive reactions and approaches certainly help and the fact that I will be weighed at each visit mean I dont want to let myself down.

I dont know about the association between RA and being overweight, there is certainly a connection between OA and obesity.

Hope you get some pain relief soon and that you have a happy xmas



What an insensitive doctor! I could suggest that you might find an alternative use for your Xmas stuffing for him..... And he needs to go back to school to learn about RA and the triggers for flares. In my view, if the cases of RA are increasing that's only because people are being properly diagnosed more often rather than being fobbed off. If anything the number of underlying cases is decreasing because smoking is decreasing, and that's a trigger for RA.

But, having said that, being over weight doesn't help with the RA and with the heart and lung problems that often accompany it. Although being only a stone overweight is hardly overweight at all unless you are very, very short. I was officially heavy enough for my height to be classed as obese when I was diagnosed, but like Tilda I have managed to lose weight. And it has really made a difference, as my knees and feet in particular are very happy to have less to carry. I've still got another stone or so to go before I get to or all weight, but that can wait until spring! Please don't let one miserable GP stop you doing everything you can to help yourself, but equally don't let it get you down and do it when you feel able to - and definitely not before Xmas! Pollyx


This makes me so mad! I have never been over weight, and have had back problems since childhood that have now become serious, I also have joint problems, My Doctor thinks it is RA, and I have an appointment in a couple of days, for my first time at the Rheumatology Clinic.

Please find another Doctor, you did nothing wrong, the man is plainly fixated on weight, and nothing you say will help. good luck,Cazx


That's all you need when you are in a lot of pain... Good on you, you have your turkey with all the trimmings and have a great Christmas. Lots of hugs and xx


I was skinny/underweight when diagnosed. Putting on weight can be an issue with RA as it makes exercise difficult and as mentioned some of the drugs used can have that as a side effect. It can also make symptoms worse (back, knees, & feet etc) I would be very surprised if there is a causal link with obesity though. I wasn't even aware of a link with smoking to be honest - I have never smoked myself. I think the guy is mixing up RA with OA - 'Id get another doctor!


Hi, creekybones. Know what you mean. My wife saw a quack, sorry doctor once, told her she was "Too fat" He was probably so obese he was a heart attack waiting to happen. Good job I wasn't with her at the time.

I was diagnosed with RA last October/November, I'm not overweight, was very fit and active, despite having osteo arthritis, and could eat like a horse, though I always had plenty of fruit and veg. And turkey at least once a month. Some of these docs dont want to think about treatment, it just racks up the surgery's costs. Its time some of them left the profession, became butchers or policemen. Anything but doctors. Mine, fortunately, are just the opposite . Hope you get sorted soon. Good luck, all the best.


Can't help but add to this! my weight has continued to go up since I was diagnosed 2 years ago, I am now 2 stone overweight and that's despite going to the gym, swimming, walking getting up early each morning and not staying put on the settee. I am disgusted with my weight and I eat less and less food than ever, and on top of that I hardly ever drink alcohol( though the desire is still there) I do put it down to the Medication but don't use that as an excuse. It's really hard to happy when you are doing everything you know how to lose weight only to stand on the scales and find you have increased.....Ahhhh


Hmmmm me thinks your Doc is using R A as an excuse to lecture you about weight loss, the only connection I know of is, less weight = less stress on the joints. I was 7st when I was diagnosed, could eat for England and not gain an ounce! The youngest diagnosed case I've heard of is a 9 month old, I'd love him to explain that one Creaky lol?!


Hi, once I was diagnosed, I realised I'd had problems for several years but ignored them as thought everyone had aches and pains which got worse with bad weather. I was a beanpole when younger so don't think weight can cause RA. That said, my weight crept up steadily until I decided I'd better do something about it and I found there is now a bit less trouble with my hips and knees but the rest of me is as sore as ever. I think if someone's diet is nutritionally poor it might have an effect but otherwise your GP is possibly talking out of the wrong orifice!


what i was wondering is what did you originally go to the doctor for? Reading your blog again looks like you wanted pain relief, i.e. straight away not months down the line which is how long it would take to lose weight. So your doc sounds full of it to me. He might be right in some ways, even if you are just a bit overweight people who do everything possible to maximise their health seem to do best so you might want to try losing a few pounds. But even then, just going for weight loss without paying careful attention to good nutrition etc. might do more harm than good so he was wrong to just focus on one element of healthy living. Some GPs need more people skills. Definitely.

I am not overweight at all, I never have been & I have RA. Sure that does go for plenty of folk. Don't let it get to you Steve & enjoy your turkey!


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