In The News: October 2019
Increased Risk of Heart Disease in People with Osteoarthritis
People with osteoarthritis in the knee or hip may be at increased risk for heart disease, according to a study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage (June 2019). The researchers studied 469,177 residents of southern Sweden who were 45 to 84 years old in 2003. They analyzed health data from 2004 to 2014. Overall, 15,901 of the residents had osteoarthritis in the knee, hip, hand or other joints. For most causes of death, the researchers found no difference in risk between people with osteoarthritis and those without it. However, people with osteoarthritis in the hip or knee were almost 20% more likely than the general population to die of heart disease. Most deaths were from ischemic heart disease (from clogged arteries) and heart failure. The risk increased with duration of osteoarthritis. The increase is thought to be due to mobility problems and lack of physical activity among people suffering with painful joints. The study highlights the need to find pain-free ways to stay active.
Osteoporosis Undertreated in People with Joint Replacements
Both the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis and the joint disease osteoarthritis become more common with age. Many older adults who undergo joint replacement surgery for osteoarthritis also have osteoporosis. But osteoporosis appears to be undertreated among these people, which may contribute to complications, such as bone fractures near the implant. A study published in The Journal of Arthroplasty (July 2019) examined this connection. The researchers reviewed the medical records of 200 adults (106 women and 94 men) ages 48 to 92 who underwent total hip or knee replacement surgery. They found that 60% of them met the National Osteoporosis Foundation's (NOF) criteria for bone density testing, but only 18% received the test. And 49 (about 25%) study participants met the NOF's criteria to receive osteoporosis medications, but only 11received the medications either before or after surgery.
Knee Osteoarthritis Increases Risk of Falling
Having symptomatic knee osteoarthritis increases the risk of suffering fall-related injuries among older men, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research (July 2019). The study included 734 men and women (mean age of 74) who were participants in the Health Aging and Body Composition Knee Osteoarthritis Substudy. During more than six years of follow-up, 255 (34.7%) of them experienced an injury from a fall. The researchers found that men who were experiencing pain and other symptoms of knee osteoarthritis had a 2.6-fold higher risk of fall-related injuries than men without knee arthritis or men with knee arthritis who were not having symptoms. The same association was not found for women for unknown reasons.
Obesity and Moderate Drinking Linked to Psoriatic Arthritis
The autoimmune disease psoriasis affects the skin, causing patches of red skin with silvery scales. It can also impact joints, which is called psoriatic arthritis and usually develops after the skin rash. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology (June 2019) looked at modifiable risk factors and risk for developing psoriatic arthritis in people with psoriasis. The researchers analyzed health data on 90,189 people with psoriasis, of whom 1,409 later developed psoriatic arthritis. Those who were overweight (body mass index [BMI] 25 to 29.9) or obese (BMI 30 or greater) were at increased risk. Being obese more than doubled the chances of getting psoriatic arthritis compared with being normal weight. Losing weight over a 10-year period reduced the risk of psoriatic arthritis compared to maintaining a high BMI. Increased risk of psoriatic arthritis was also seen with moderate alcohol consumption.