In a recent cross-sectional study published in Arthritis Care & Research, researchers explored associations between OA-related walking disability and cardiovascular risk. The study included 500 patients with self-reported osteoarthritis (OA) ranging from ages 40-80. Patients were assessed using the 6-minute walk test (6WMT) to evaluate walking ability and the Pulse Wave Velocity to measure arterial stiffness.
Th study revealed that adults with Osteoarthritis in their 40s had the largest difference in walking ability when compared to their non-OA counterparts. According to the study, women aged 40-49 with OA walked on average 278 feet less than women without OA during a 6MWT test. Men aged 40-49 with OA walked about 290 feet less than men without OA during their 6MWT. The study also found that a patient’s 6MWT was significantly correlated with their arterial stiffness. One hundred meters (328 feet) longer walking distance corresponded to a 0.3 m/s decrease in arterial stiffness.
While there are many factors that can contribute to this observed correlation in OA-related walking disability and cardiovascular risk, this research sheds light on the global health effects of joint osteoarthritis and the importance of the early clinical intervention with OA. Identifying effective pharmacologic or interventional treatments with low side effect profiles will be essential for not only treating joint disease, but helping to keep patients active and healthy in the long run.