Objective: Arthritis is associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). However, there are limited epidemiologic studies on arthritis in a national survey study. We therefore investigated the prevalence of self-reported arthritis and its association with CVDs.
Methods: Data from 15,888 subjects aged 40 years or older in the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999 through 2008 were analyzed. CVD was defined as a self-reported history of heart attack, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, angina, or stroke.
Results: The overall prevalence of self-reported arthritis in subjects aged 40 years or older increased from 33.5% in 1999 through 2000 to 37.0% in 2007 through 2008 (P for trend = 0.017). Among subjects with arthritis in 1999 through 2008, 35.3% had osteoarthritis (OA), 17.9% had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and 10.2% had other types of arthritis, but 36.6% were unaware of their type of arthritis. Compared with subjects without OA, subjects with OA had higher odds for CVDs (odds ratio [OR], 1.53; P < .001), especially angina (OR, 2.18: P < .001). Compared with subjects without RA, subjects with RA had higher odds for CVDs (adjusted OR, 2.39; P < .001), especially congestive heart failure (OR, 3.59; P < .001).
Conclusions: Both RA and OA are strongly associated with CVDs in the general population. Further studies are needed to investigate their causal relationship.
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