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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Weight loss on beta blockers?

Q) I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 50 years now, and also have high blood pressure. I take co-codamol and Voltarol gel when needed. I also take cod liver oil and evening primrose oil. I have been told to watch my weight as am 12 stone and 4’ 4” tall. My question is: how can I lose weight when the beta blockers won’t let me? I walk my dog twice a day over the hills and sometimes more, but since I got him in November 2012 I have lost just half a stone but no more. Please help me as I would like to be 10 and a half to 11 stone for my health’s sake.
Miss Angela Cork, Brighton, East Sussex (Winter 2014)

A) I know that many tablets can cause weight gain. Steroid (cortisone) tablets are notorious for this. Beta blockers are possibly incriminated in this respect but it is not as consistent as with steroids. The problem faced by people with arthritis is that they find it difficult to control their weight by exercising. They have used this as a method of weight control for many years and the advent of arthritis has severely limited their ability to use calories through exercise. Unfortunately, eating, like exercising, is habit forming, and many people find it difficult to balance their eating with their new level of exercise. People may also eat more for ‘comfort’ when they are in pain. How will this help you? Not very much I suspect. Effective weight loss by diet alone is very difficult to do. With a body mass index of over 40 you might qualify for an operation such as gastric banding (where a plastic band is put around the stomach to reduce food intake) but this will depend on priorities for funding in your area.

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