COVID-related weight gain affecting more than the midsection

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Reports of weight gain during the coronavirus pandemic are leading to a rise in complaints of arthritis-related joint pain.

“A lot of people I’m seeing may have been asymptomatic and a little bit of weight gain, it doesn’t take much, just five, 10 pounds, and they will have a significant amount of pain in their hips and knees,” said Dr. Jason Walters, an orthopedic surgeon with Broward Health Medical Center.

Walters said once arthritis sets in, it cannot be reversed, but losing weight can still help ease some of the symptoms.

Range of motion exercises that strengthen muscles around the hips and knees can also help reduce arthritis-related pain.

And researchers are urging consumers to avoid weight loss or sports supplements that contain an ingredient called deterenol, a synthetic stimulant that can cause a drop in blood pressure.

Supplements containing deterenol are not approved for use in humans in the U.S. and have been linked to adverse reactions including nausea, vomiting, sweating, agitation, palpitations, chest pain and cardiac arrest.

The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Toxicology points to the need for independent testing and certification of dietary supplements.

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