New study finds two risk factors that boost the odds of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis: Exercising regularly can 'help with inflammation'

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Matthew Baker, MD, an assistant professor of immunology and rheumatology highlighted the connection between asthma, eczema, and osteoarthritis. Prior research pointed towards osteoarthritis appearing due to allergic inflammation, which Baker explored further. Alongside other interested researchers, Baker investigated insurance claims data retroactively to track those with atopic diseases, such as asthma and eczema.

The findings suggested that people diagnosed with asthma or eczema were more likely to develop osteoarthritis in later years.

In fact, the authors noted that if a patient had asthma or eczema, there was a 58 percent increased risk of developing osteoarthritis over 10 years.

If a patient had both asthma and eczema, the risk increased to 115 percent.

Baker said: “Our findings provide the foundation for future interventional studies that could identify the first treatment to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis.”

To see the effect of another lung disease, one that isn’t mediated by allergens, the researchers compared data for those who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to those who had asthma.

COPD is when airflow to the lungs is constricted, causing breathing difficulties, the NHS explains.

Baker and his colleagues noted asthma patients had an 83 percent increased risk of osteoarthritis compared to those who had COPD.

From this, the researchers concluded that the activation of allergic pathways could play a critical role in the development of osteoarthritis.

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One restriction to the research study is the exclusion of body mass index (BMI) data, which is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis.

According to Baker, existing medication for asthma attacks could be candidates for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Baker added: “We now have a strong basis for studying this as an intervention.

“To see if targeting pathways like inhibiting mast cells or allergic cytokines can actually reduce the development and, or progression of osteoarthritis.”

Osteoarthritis risk factors

There are certain non-modifiable risk factors for developing osteoarthritis, such as older age.

The Mayo Clinic also pointed out that genetics, joint injuries, and repeated stress on the joint can lead to the condition.

“Even injuries that occurred many years ago and seemingly healed can increase your risk of osteoarthritis,” the health body notes.

One modifiable risk factor is obesity, as the heavier you are, the more pressure there is on the joints.

Do I have osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis symptoms can develop slowly over time, which can lead to painful, stiff, and tender joints.

There can be a gradual loss of flexibility in the joint, meaning it no longer has its full range of motion.

In some people, there can be a “grating sensation” when you use a joint that could be accompanied by “popping or crackling” sounds.

The research paper was published on Monday, March 27 in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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