Metabolic Risks Linked to Knee Arthritis

Knee osteoarthritis risk may increase with number of components of metabolic syndrome

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of factors that boost the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Now, it seems metabolic syndrome may also be linked to the "wear-and-tear" of arthritis.

People with just one risk factor of metabolic syndrome - such as being overweight or having high blood pressure - may have an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis.

"Stay active to protect your joints."

There are a number of factors included in metabolic syndrome. These include overweight, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels and prediabetes (higher than normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be called diabetes).

In their recent study, Noriko Yosihmura, MD, PhD, of the University of Tokyo, and colleagues set out to get a better understanding of the relationship between these metabolic risk factors and knee osteoarthritis.

They found that people with three or more metabolic risk factors were nearly 10 times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than those with no risk factors.

People with one factor of metabolic syndrome were a little more than twice as likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than those with no metabolic risk factors.

People with two metabolic risk factors were nearly three times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.

The researchers also found that the progression of knee osteoarthritis increased with the number of metabolic risk factors.

That is, the more metabolic risk factors people had, the more wear and tear they experienced.

People with one metabolic risk factor were only slightly more likely to experience progression of knee osteoarthritis than those without metabolic risks.

Those with two metabolic risk factors were a little more than two times more likely to experience progression. Three metabolic risk factors increased the risk of knee osteoarthritis progression almost three-fold.

According to the authors, these findings suggest that preventing metabolic syndrome may be useful in reducing the future risk of knee osteoarthritis.

The study included 1,384 participants. The researchers followed these people for 3 years. During that time, the rate of knee osteoarthritis was 3.3 percent per year.

Progression of osteoarthritis was measured with Kellgren-Lawrence scale - a grading system for rating signs of joint damage, where grade 1 is the least amount of signs and grade 4 is the most.

Over the course of 3 years, the rate of progression in Kellgren-Lawrence grades for either knee was 8 percent per year.

The study was published August 20 in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage

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Review Date: 
September 24, 2012
Last Updated:
October 2, 2012