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Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School
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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

Joint surgery isn't the first option for knee and hip arthritis, from the Harvard Health Letter

As summer beckons people outdoors for a bevy of activities, those limited by hip and knee pain due to arthritis may be wondering if it's time for joint replacement surgery so they can be active again. But surgery isn't generally the initial go-to method of treatment, reports the June 2013 Harvard Health Letter. "Exercise and weight loss are usually the first line of defense. They may help prevent the pain and even prevent surgery," says Dr. Eric Berkson, an instructor in orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Exercise, especially activities that strengthen the muscles that support the knees and hips, is one key to avoiding surgery. The quadriceps in the front of the thigh and the hamstrings in the back are important to knee strength. Every time you walk or do any weight-bearing activity, the quads absorb the shock. The stronger your quads are, the less load that gets transferred into the knee. The gluteal muscles in the buttocks and flexors in the pelvis are important for hip strength and flexibility.

Weight loss is another key to avoiding joint-replacement surgery. Every 10 pounds of excess weight puts an extra 30 to 60 pounds of pressure on the knee and hip joints. Shedding pounds can reduce that pressure. "Even a 10-pound weight loss can make a huge difference," says Dr. Berkson.

Read the full-length article: "Avoiding knee or hip surgery"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Health Letter

  • Taking charge of your health
  • Ask the doctor: When does fatigue indicate illness?
  • Ask the doctor: Which fats should be eliminated from the diet?
  • How to cope with drug-resistant hypertension
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps depression
  • Avoiding knee or hip surgery
  • Silent urinary infections, serious consequences
  • Specks in your vision can signal serious eye conditions
  • What to look for in sunscreen:
  • What you need to know about: Calcium supplements
  • News briefs: Best way to prevent advanced colon cancer
  • News briefs: Harvard study: Benefits of quitting smoking trump subsequent weight gain
  • News briefs: Aspirin linked to preventing deadly skin cancer

More Harvard Health News »


About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.