Not many people are aware of the link between arthritis and heart disease, but it does exist. Osteoarthritis leads to stiff and painful joints, whereas heart disease affects the heart and blood vessels. They don’t seem to be connected, but they are.
All About Age? Not So Fast!
We have always thought that arthritis and heart disease naturally occurred as we aged, and they were two completely independent problems. As we get older, we tend to have cardiac issues. At the same time we often risk osteoarthritis due to the wear and tear of cartilage in our joints.
In the last decade there has been more of a discussion about a chemical link, but there is disagreement among scientists and doctors about exactly what that link is.
The Chicken And Egg Problem
The question is whether heart disease increases the risk for osteoarthritis, or does arthritis and decreased activity due to pain lead to worsening heart disease.
Someone with OA necessarily does less exercise and overall activity due to the painful results. They in turn can gain weight from the lack of activity which adds further risk to developing or worsening heart disease.
All inflammations are a risk factor for heart disease, and someone with inflammatory arthritis like RA has more cardiac problems. Inflammatory cells get into the wall of blood vessels leaving plaque and leading to heart attacks.
Since the risks for both OA and heart disease are similar, both can be reduced by following similar guidelines.
Shared Risk Factors And Solutions
Besides inflammation, being overweight is a risk factor for both heart disease and arthritis. When you set a goal to lose a few pounds you reduce the strain on your musculoskeletal system, and in many cases, the pain lessens. At the same time, you reduce your risk for heart disease.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high triglycerides all contribute to heart disease and they overlap with arthritis. According the the CDC, 47% of adults with diabetes have arthritis, and 31% are obese. In addition, almost half of all adults with heart disease have arthritis.
The solution is to stay as active as possible to alleviate both risks. It may be painful at first to walk and begin an exercise regimen, but it will pay off in the long run. Ask The Bethencourt Group for a plan.
Smoking is a serious risk factor for heart disease, plus it raises blood pressure and exacerbates the buildup of plaque. Obviously, the solution is to quit. There are multiple aids in the marketplace to quit smoking.
If you focus on the shared risk factors and strive to improve with the help of The Bethencourt Group, meds and lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk for both arthritis and heart disease.
Contact The Bethencourt Group if you have arthritis and are concerned about your risk factors for heart disease.
As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (657) 241-9440 or request information online today!