Prioritising OA: impact on other diseases

Osteoarthritis commonly occurs alongside conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. Further, among all patients with two or more long-term conditions, osteoarthritis is commonly one of these. This is problematic for a number of reasons, firstly, pain and mobility problems can present barriers to patients engaging completely with self-management for commonly co-existing problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes or respiratory problems (e.g. asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Thus, there is potential for the patient to enter into a vicious cycle of worsening symptoms and even less chance of engaging in self-management which will have a negative impact on both their osteoarthritis and these other conditions. Secondly, pain and loss of function resulting from osteoarthritis, this can affect both mood and sleep, potentially worsening outcomes of commonly co-existing mental health problems. Again a vicious cycle ensues as symptoms can amplify among those with low mood and anxiety. Finally, the current over-reliance on drug treatments can negatively impact other conditions, for example, anti-inflammatories can worsen blood pressure control and can have negative effects on kidney function and opioids have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.


References and Further Reading

Arthritis Research UK 2017. Musculoskeletal conditions and multimorbidity.

Violan et al. Prevalence, determinants and patterns of multimorbidity in primary care: a systematic review of observational studies. PLoSOne.