Having osteoarthritis has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease. But the reasons for the connection are not known. Results of a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology
(August 2019) suggest that use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be, at least partly, to blame. Researchers analyzed data from Canadian health databases on 7,743 people with osteoarthritis and compared them to 23,229 people of similar age without osteoarthritis. Those with osteoarthritis had a 42% higher risk for heart failure, a 17% higher risk for coronary heart disease, and a 14% higher risk for stroke. The researchers reported that about 41% of the total effect on increased heart disease risk was attributable to current use of NSAIDs. This was an observational study, and the authors acknowledge that prospective studies (which compare people randomly assigned to different groups) are needed to confirm the findings.