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Is there a link between high blood pressure and osteoarthritis?

Q) I have had two successful hip replacements. Now I have osteoarthritis in my shoulder. I also have high blood pressure. I would be interested to know if any research has been done connecting the two.
Lorna, Cambridge. (Spring 2005)

A) Osteoarthritis has been linked to obesity, as has high blood pressure. That's one possible link. Drugs used for osteoarthritis – the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – can cause salt and water retention by the kidney and can cause an increase in blood pressure. That's another link. Also, there's a link between smoking and osteoarthritis and smoking and high blood pressure. And finally, pain (from osteoarthritis for example) can cause the body to produce chemicals which can elevate the blood pressure.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Spring 2005 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

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