Arthritis Tied to Heart Disease. Pain Relievers May Be to Blame.

Osteoarthritis has previously been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Recent research suggests that a significant portion of the risk comes from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or some prescription NSAIDs.

Researchers studied data from over 30,000 participants. It was found that when compared with healthy people, those with osteoarthritis had a 42 percent increased risk for congestive heart failure, a 17 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease, and a 14 percent increased risk for stroke. They calculated that 41 percent of the increased risk for any cardiovascular event was attributable to the use of NSAIDs.

More research is needed to establish a cause and effect relationship. The findings from this study have been published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may account for higher rates of heart disease and stroke in those with osteoarthritis.

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