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Common comorbidities in osteoarthritis

Photo of a blood glucose meter, a lancing device, an open box of pills, a syringe and

In a new Swedish study by Lund University, researchers looked at how common it is with comorbidities in osteoarthritis of the knee and/or hip. The study was published in the American journal Arthritis Care & Research.

The study analyzed data collected from the province of Scania's population between the years 1998 and 2017. Newly diagnosed osteoarthritis patients were at a slightly higher risk of developing comorbidities such as depression, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis than people without osteoarthritis. There was also an increased risk of diabetes, but only in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

That knee osteoarthritis increases the risk of diabetes can be explained by the fact that there is a stronger association between obesity and knee osteoarthritis than with hip osteoarthritis. Obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

There are a number of reasons why the risk of developing comorbidities is higher for individuals with osteoarthritis compared to healthy individuals without osteoarthritis. It is a known fact that joint pain, which often results in weight gain and reduced physical inactivity, increases the risk for several different types of physical and mental health issues. There may also be shared causal factors or disease mechanisms between osteoarthritis and other common diseases. One example is low-grade chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of a number of diseases.

The results of the study suggest that it is important for people with osteoarthritis to optimize their osteoarthritis treatment to potentially reduce the risk of developing comorbidities.

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