Osteoarthritis and heart disease have one common factor—inflammation. So it's not surprising that people who have arthritis are also more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and die from it.
The risk isn't enormous; researchers reckon that people suffering from arthritis of the knee, for example, for up to 11 years are 16 per cent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
In other words, for every 100,000 people who have had arthritis for that length of time, 40 more will die from heart disease.
Researchers from Lund University noticed the connection when they tracked 469,000 people for 11 years. In that time, around 16,000 developed arthritis, and when they died, the researchers looked at the cause of death.
Cardiovascular disease was cited more often in people who also had arthritis, although the effect wasn't immediate. Heart disease seemed to be diagnosed only between nine and 11 years after arthritis had started.
Although inflammation was the common factor, and the most likely reason for the connection, the researchers say that arthritis makes people less able to be active and this too could be contributing to the start of heart disease.