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.