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Link Between Osteoarthritis and Cardiac Disease

Is there one?

Recent studies suggest that there may be a link between Osteoarthritis and Cardiovascular Disease.  The body is a matrix that intertwines; it is complex.  One health issue can inadvertently evoke other bodily complications.  Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting one in every thirteen individuals in the United States. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that involves the deterioration of cartilage, loss of the synovial lining, and changes to the bones and ligaments.  The majority of Osteoarthritis cases have no known cause and are referred to as Primary Osteoarthritis. Although the disease is often referred to as a “wear and tear” disease, or an age related disease, that is not exactly accurate.  People of all ages suffer from Osteoarthritis, and it develops from many factors such as hereditary, previous injury, and the overuse of a joint.  Knowing that the risk of developing the disease is likely in today’s society by the time you reach your golden years, it is important to know the warning signs, risk factors, and how it can affect your overall health.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the Western World.  It claims one life every thirty-five seconds, with 17 million Americans living with the deadly disease.  Cardiovascular disease includes a multitude of problems involving the heart and blood vessels.  Arthrosclerosis is the most common condition, which develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries.  The narrowing arteries struggle to pump blood to the heart.  Vascular stiffness is a hallmark for cardiovascular disease, and it increases with aging, as well as with other conditions that are directly associated with the disease, such as hypertension and diabetes. 

Studies show that there is a link between Osteoarthritis and Cardiovascular disease, but the extent is yet to be determined.  Results do show that the risk factors for both diseases are similar, and may be the primary source of the link. Obesity, diet, and lifestyle choices (such as smoking) contribute to both diseases and affect the flexibility of the blood vessel walls and blood flow.  This accelerates arthritic changes.  It is clear that vascular changes are key components in many processes of the body.

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