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Osteoarthritis increases the risk of other chronic health conditions

Osteoarthritis increases the risk of other chronic health conditions

Osteoarthritis increases the risk of other chronic health conditions

Key recommendations

Osteoarthritis (OA) can nearly triple a person’s risk of developing many other chronic diseases as they age In general, people with OA tend to develop many other health problems.

WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Osteoarthritis could nearly triple a person’s risk of developing a host of other chronic diseases, a new two-decade study suggests.

People with osteoarthritis (OA) — where cartilage breaks down, allowing bones to rub against each other — tend to develop more other health problems as the years go by, researchers have found.

These other chronic diseases can include heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders, cancer, and diseases of the kidneys, liver, lungs, and other organs, according to a report recently published in the journal RMD Open.

“Our findings suggest that people with OA face an almost threefold increased risk of developing severe multimorbidity,” concluded the research team led by Andrea Dell’isola, associate professor at Lund University in Sweden.

For the study, researchers analyzed medical data for nearly 10,000 residents of the Skane region in southern Sweden diagnosed with osteoarthritis between 2008 and 2009.

Each of these OA patients was compared to two people of the same age and gender without osteoarthritis, so their health patterns could be tracked and compared.

Researchers found that people who were prone to getting sick as they got older tended to have osteoarthritis.

About 42% of people who developed the most chronic diseases had OA, compared to 29% of those with the fewest diseases.

Overall, OA increased a person’s risk of being in the sickest group by about two and a half times, the researchers said.

The lifestyle and health effects of OA could explain this increased risk, the researchers said.

People with arthritis are less likely to engage in physical activity and are more likely to suffer from low-grade chronic inflammation. Combined with a high-calorie diet, these factors could increase a person’s risk for many different diseases, the researchers said.

The sickest people in the study had the most disability, “suggesting that people with OA … are more likely to experience a higher level of disability than those without OA,” the researchers wrote.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on osteoarthritis.

SOURCE: BMJ Group, press release, 9 July 2024

What does this mean for you?

People with osteoarthritis should be aware of their increased risk of chronic disease and make lifestyle choices to protect their long-term health.

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