Cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis: common pathways and patient outcomes

Gwen S Fernandes, Ana M Valdes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis (OA) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are the two most prevalent conditions in the population aged over 70 in developed countries. Both conditions share common risk factors, in particular age and body mass index. However, the very high level of co-occurrence of both diseases cannot be accounted by common risk factors alone.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed the recent literature published in English in PubMed for articles relating to osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease.

RESULTS: On the one hand, the disability caused by OA increases the risk of CVD and in particular of ischemic events and mortality beyond what can be explained by known common risk factors, such as ageing and obesity. Moreover, the presence of OA has a synergistic effect on CVD symptoms considerably worsening them. On the other hand, at least in women, there appears to be a common pathogenic mechanism underlying atherosclerosis (but not hypertension) and actual joint damage.

CONCLUSION: There are some possible molecular mechanisms underlying both diseases, in particular relating to low grade inflammation and female hormones. However, the data available to date also indicate that OA may be considered as an indirect cause of CVD by increasing walking disability and the use of analgesic medication such as NSAIDs. We discuss future directions that need to be taken to address these highly prevalent, costly and disabling morbidities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-14
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/therapeutic use
  • Atherosclerosis/epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Extracellular Matrix/metabolism
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones/immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis/epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Sex Factors


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