Elevated Cholesterol and Joint Pain

Elevated Cholesterol and Joint PainMarion Hauser, MS, RD

In this article we will discuss the controversial and sometimes contradictory research in regard to stain use in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

We will look at high cholesterol as a possible cause of knee pain and the effect of statins to either alleviate symptoms or make the symptoms worse.

If you have questions about your knee pain, you can get help and information from our Caring Medical Staff

This is an example of a cause and effect problem.

This is an example of a cause-effect-possible solution

This cause and effect problem is backed by some research.

A 2012 study from the Netherlands published in the Annals of the rheumatic diseases drew some attention for their findings.

The goal of the study was to determine if statins are able to have a positive effect on the cause of joint pain, alleviate its symptoms., and possibly reverse the disease.

Here is a summary of those findings.

Results

This is another example of a cause-effect situation

A few months after this research appeared in 2011, Virginia Commonwealth University researchers published in the same journal the Annals of the rheumatic diseases, these findings:

Not only did statins NOT help, they made the knee osteoarthritis worse

The doctors from the Netherlands responded in print a few months later  in proper scientific debate. In this response in the Annals of the rheumatic diseases, it was suggested that parts of their study should be re-evaluated to find the benefits of statins. They point out

The benefit of the statin is then to help control systemic inflammation in the joint.

Here is the final example of a cause-effect-solution problem

Now let’s move forward to September 2017

Here medical and university researchers in China published their finding in the influential Scientific reports from the Nature Publish group in London.

The Chinese team then sought to clarify the contradicting research presented in the two studies above.

The Chinese team concluded that their results indicate that hyperlipidemia may be an independent risk factor for knee pain and clinical knee osteoarthritis among middle-aged or older adults. These findings have substantial implications for the prevention of knee osteoarthritis through the reduction of blood lipid levels.(4) The subnote of course is through diet and exercise. Please see my article on Metabolic syndrome and osteoarthritis joint pain.

If you have questions about your knee pain, you can get help and information from our Caring Medical Staff

1 Clockaerts S, Van Osch GJ, Bastiaansen-Jenniskens YM, Verhaar JA, Van Glabbeek F, Van Meurs JB, Kerkhof HJ, Hofman A, Stricker BC, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Statin use is associated with reduced incidence and progression of knee osteoarthritis in the Rotterdam study. Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2011 Oct 1:annrheumdis-2011. [Google Scholar]

2 Riddle DL, Moxley G, Dumenci L. Associations between statin use and changes in pain, function and structural progression: a longitudinal study of persons with knee osteoarthritis. Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2013 Feb 1;72(2):196-203. [Google Scholar]

3 Clockaerts S, Van Osch GJ, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Comment on ‘Associations between statin use and changes in pain, function and structural progression: a longitudinal study of persons with knee osteoarthritis’. Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2013 May 1;72(5):e9-. [Google Scholar]

4 Zhou M, Guo Y, Wang D, Shi D, Li W, Liu Y, Yuan J, He M, Zhang X, Guo H, Wu T. The cross-sectional and longitudinal effect of hyperlipidemia on knee osteoarthritis: Results from the Dongfeng-Tongji cohort in China. Scientific Reports. 2017 Aug 29;7(1):9739.  [Google Scholar]

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