Research to look at the link between osteoarthritis and heart disease

Generous funding from the Raymond E Purves Foundation will support innovative research to identify how osteoarthritis causes cardiovascular disease.

$100,000 will go towards Dr Cindy Shu to continue her valuable project to better define the link between osteoarthritis and heart disease, and inform improved treatment.

Nearly 2.5 million Australians currently suffer from osteoarthritis, with the disabling condition contributing to pain and loss of independence, and directly costing the healthcare system at least $3.75 billion.

There is no cure for the condition, and existing treatments have limited benefits.

Dr Shu said we believe the impact of this disease goes much further, and is responsible for a two-fold increase in the risk of heart disease.

“Studies have shown osteoarthritis is an independent risk factor that can’t be explained by the known causes of heart disease like diet, hypertension and lack of exercise,” Dr Shu said.

“This suggests the current approaches to reducing cardiovascular disease risk through weight loss for instance, won’t effectively alter the risk of heart disease from osteoarthritis.

“There is an urgent need to better define the pathophysiology of the osteoarthritis-heart disease link, and to identify new, effective treatments.

“It’s hoped this approach will not only help reduce chronic pain, but the incidence of heart disease and its devastating impact on individuals and the community.

“We greatly appreciate the significant funds and support from the Raymond E Purves Foundation to allow this crucial research to continue.

“We hope it will broaden our understanding of this common and painful condition, and its potentially deadly effect,” she said.