Collections > UNC Scholarly Publications > BioMed Central > Contributions of symptomatic osteoarthritis and physical function to incident cardiovascular disease
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Abstract Background Osteoarthritis (OA) is associated with worsening physical function and a high prevalence of comorbid health conditions. In particular, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is higher in individuals with OA than the general population. Limitations in physical function may be one pathway to the development of CVD among individuals with OA. This study evaluated associations of symptomatic knee OA (sxKOA), baseline physical function and worsening of function over time with self-reported incident CVD in a community-based cohort. Methods Our sample consisted of individuals from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project who did not report having CVD at baseline. Variables used to evaluate physical function were the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), time to complete 5 chair stands, and the 8-ft walk. Worsening function for these variables was defined based on previous literature and cutoffs from our sample. Logistic regression analyses examined associations of sxKOA, baseline function and worsening of function over time with self-reported incident CVD, unadjusted and adjusted for relevant demographic and clinical characteristics. Results Among 1709 participants included in these analyses, the mean age was 59.5 ± 9.5 years, 63.6% were women, 15% had sxKOA, and the follow up time was 5.9 ± 1.2 years. About a third of participants reported worsening HAQ score, about two-fifths had worsened chair stand time, half had worsened walking speed during the 8-ft walk, and 16% self-reported incident CVD. In unadjusted analyses, sxKOA, baseline function, and worsening function were all associated with self-reported incident CVD. In multivariable models including all of these variables, sxKOA was not associated with incident CVD, but worsening function was significantly associated with increased CVD risk, for all three functional measures: HAQ odds ratio (OR) = 2.49 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.90–3.25), chair stands OR = 1.58 (95% CI 1.20–2.08), 8-ft walk OR = 1.53 (95%CI 1.15–2.04). These associations for worsening function remained in models additionally adjusted for demographic and clinical characteristics related to CVD risk. Conclusions The association between symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease risk was explained by measures of physical function. This highlights the importance of physical activity and other strategies to prevent functional loss among individuals with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.