Can Arthritis Kill You? Time to Start Searching for New Arthritis Treatments

By /

Most people think of common osteoarthritis arthritis as just painful, but otherwise benign. However, what if it was associated with a higher risk of dying? Would that cause us all to look for new arthritis treatments?

Medical illustration showing one half of the knee affected by osteoarthritis and the other half by rheumatoid arthritis


Osteoarthritis (OA) is when a joint loses cartilage and the bones begin to change shape. It can be associated with pain, stiffness, and swelling. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis which is rarer and due to severe pathologic inflammation, OA is the much more common problem due to wear and tear. More recent research has also shown a significant nerve component and that the joint also contains a toxic stew of chemicals that can cause pain and further joint breakdown.

The Centers for Disease control (CDC) is known as a no nonsense organization. While most people think of the CDC as the government agency tracking outbreaks in Hollywood films, they also track more common diseases like arthritis. Their web-site has some very concerning statistics about OA. Turns out that several studies have associated OA with a higher risk of dying from various diseases.

For example, death due to any cause is 60% higher in patients with arthritis. Death due to heart disease or dementia is 70% higher and twice as likely when a patient has OA. They also note that deaths due to OA are likely under-estimated, as the number of patients that die from stomach bleeding or heart attacks from the chronic use of NSAID drugs to help their arthritis pain are likely highly underestimated.

The upshot? If you have osteoarthritis, there are two things that are likely increasing your risk of dying from these diseases. First, less activity causes a higher risk. Second, higher levels of whole body inflammation likely also cause an elevated risk of death. So if you have wear and tear arthritis, rather than throwing dangerous NSAID drugs at the problem, make sure you get it treated. Newer autologous biologic therapies (like using your own blood platelets or stem cells) may help you get more active and avoid dangerous drugs. They may also save your life!

Join us for a free Regenexx webinar.
Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

Get Blog Updates by Email

We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

By submitting the form you agree that you’ve read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may use email, phone, or other electronic means to communicate information about Regenexx.

We will provide information to help you decide whether you want to schedule an evaluation with a Regenexx Physician.

Insurance typically covers evaluations and diagnostic testing (if recommended). Most insurance plans currently do not cover Regenexx Procedures.

Category: Latest News
Copyright © Regenexx 2021. All rights reserved.



9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.