March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Elderly people who have chronic muscle pain are at a
significantly increased risk of having heart disease - researchers
at Teesside University have found.
Almost half of elderly people who have suffered chronic
musculoskeletal pain (CMP) go on to suffer cardiovascular disease
(CVD), researchers suggest.
And people aged over 65-years-old who have chronic
musculoskeletal pain are 82% more likely to have cardiovascular
problems than those who do not have CMP.
The team, led by Dr Cormac Ryan
from Teesside University, is calling for the treatment of CMP to be
made a public health priority and say it could act as a prevention
strategy for cardiovascular disease.
Dr Ryan, Senior Lecturer in Research in the School of Health
& Social Care, said: "Our findings suggest that the appropriate
management of chronic musculoskeletal pain should not simply be
viewed as an intervention for chronic musculoskeletal pain in
itself, but also a preventive strategy to reduce the risk of
developing cardiovascular disease."
Researchers at Teesside University collaborated with academics
in Northern Ireland and America to
look at a sample of over 5,300 adults aged over 45-years-old.
Of those aged 65 and over, 32.5% reported having chronic
musculoskeletal pain. And, of these individuals almost half, 47%,
had cardiovascular disease. This is compared with 28% having
cardiovascular disease who did not have chronic musculoskeletal
Middle-aged adults, from 45-64-years-old, who had chronic
musculoskeletal pain were also at an increased risk of developing
cardiovascular disease, with 23% of those having CMP going on to
develop CVP, compared with 14% who had not had CMP.
Dr Ryan said the findings suggest that chronic musculoskeletal
pain can be a factor in causing cardiovascular disease.
"Musculoskeletal pain impairs movement, leading to the
individual becoming more sedentary which is a risk factor for
cardiovascular disease," explained Dr Ryan.
"Chronic musculoskeletal pain is associated with increased
inflammation activity within the body which could contribute
towards atherosclerosis which is a hardening or narrowing of the
"It is also associated with obesity - a risk factor for
"Finally, chronic musculoskeletal pain is a stressful experience
and again stress is an important risk factor for cardiovascular
"Considering 10% of the world's population report chronic
musculoskeletal pain, this could have far reaching implications for
cardiovascular disease prevention, giving support to previous calls
for chronic musculoskeletal pain to be considered a public health