Are Knee Arthritis and Heart Disease Associated?

knee arthritis heart disease

I blogged a few weeks back that there were associations between arthritis and many diseases like heart problems, stroke, and death. I’ve also blogged that shortly after a knee replacement there’s a dramatically increased risk of heart attack and stroke for several weeks. A recent study sought to figure out the knee arthritis heart disease association that could explain why knee replacement patients had an increased risk of heart disease a year after the surgery.

Knee replacement is big surgery. It’s basically an amputation of the ends of the long bones that make up the knee and then an insertion of a prostheses. It’s therefore not surprising that so much trauma in the body can cause severe complications like blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

The new study looked at more than three thousand patients who had knee replacement surgery and matched them to more than fourteen thousand patients without knee replacement. While a year out from knee replacement surgery this group seemed to have more heart disease, a different analysis of the data shed more light on where that effect originated. When the authors adjusted for the fact that the underlying OA may be linked to heart disease, the increased risk due to having a knee replacement surgery disappeared. As a result, they concluded that the arthritis was associated with heart disease.

The upshot? Does arthritis cause heart disease? Unlikely. It’s much more likely that the same type of inactivity and metabolic syndrome that fuels more arthritis also fuels more heart disease. What can you do? Metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and being overweight) is a national killer that can hurt your heart and your joints. Cutting the carbs and sweets and upping your exercise game can make a huge dent in this medical condition, hopefully steering you away from where the metabolic syndrome road ends-type 2 diabetes!

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