People With Osteoarthritis More Likely To Die From Cardiovascular Disease

Osteoarthritis has been the most common joint disorder in the U.S., affecting more than 30 million adult Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But joint problems may not be the only health problems facing these people. 

A new study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, shows that people with osteoarthritis are also at risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden analyzed data of nearly 469,000 people. 

The participants included patients with knee arthritis, hip arthritis, wrist arthritis and other forms of osteoarthritis. The research team followed participants from 2003 through 2014. 

"We looked at the cause of death for those who died between 2004 and 2014 and who had previously been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and compared the results with the rest of the population in the same region,” Martin Englund, lead researcher and a professor at Lund University, said in a statement

Englund and his team found that mortality risk because of cardiovascular disease was higher for people with osteoarthritis. The period of time the patient suffered from the joint disorder also affects the risk. 

Englund said a person who had a knee arthritis for nine to 11 years had 16 percent higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. The researchers estimate that among 100,000 osteoarthritis patients, more than 40 people die every year because of the diseases. 

However, the study did not determine the direct link between osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease. The researchers said they have yet to study how the joint disorder contributes to heart problems. 

But Englund suggested that reduced physical activity due to osteoarthritis potentially contributed to factors that trigger cardiovascular disease. 

“Osteoarthritis causes pain, which often results in people not being as mobile and becoming sedentary instead,” he said. “Thus, there is a risk of weight gain, which we know leads to secondary diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.”

Inflammation may also link the health problems. Englund said that it is important for older adults to stay physically active and maintain healthy body weight to avoid any health risk aside from arthritis. 

Old Man The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that osteoarthritis affects more than 30 million adults in the U.S. Pixabay