A recent study compares mortality rates of British middle-aged women with painful knee and hand osteoarthritis to the mortality of unaffected women from the same community. The results indicate a higher risk of early death in the group with painful knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a news release from the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Specifically, the study suggests any painful knee osteoarthritis is linked with early overall and cardiovascular mortality. The release notes that the findings are independent of most known risk factors linked to early mortality.

The release reports that the study was based upon data from the Chingford Study; community-based data from a cohort of middle-aged women followed up for 24 years. The data was used to evaluate the impact of knee and hand pain with or without radiographic osteoarthritis on early overall and disease specific mortality.

The researchers’ reported goal was to compare a group of women with painful knee or hand osteoarthritis to mortality of women without OA. Knee and hand symptoms, radiographic changes, majority of known cardiovascular risk factors and overall, cardiovascular, and cancer-related mortality were assessed based on study follow-up in 2014 and data from all available death certificates at this point, the release says.

The average follow-up was around 22 years. During that time, the release states that the women with knee pain and radiographic osteoarthritis had an almost 2-fold increased risk of early overall mortality and over 3-fold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, when compared to women without knee pain or radiographic changes. There was no link between hand osteoarthritis and excess mortality risk, the release notes.

The study’s results suggest that any self-reported knee pain in OA, as opposed to hand pain, seems to be a key factor in leading to early cardiovascular mortality and is likely to be linked with decreased mobility, says Dr Stefan Kluzek, lead author, ARUK Centre of Excellence for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis, University of Oxford.

“Radiographic osteoarthritis without pain is not affecting long-term mortality. More research is needed to understand how people adapt to knee pain, and how this leads to cardiovascular impairment,” Kluzek adds in the release.

Source(s): Science Daily, International Osteoporosis Foundation