Diabetic people are up to 70 per cent more likely to have arthritis

People with diabetes are significantly more likely to have both forms of arthritis and osteoporosis, a study has revealed.

Danish researchers, who presented their findings at a major diabetes conference in Germany, examined data from around 109,000 people.

They found diabetics face a 70 per cent higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, a whole-body illness in which the immune system attacks the joints.

And their risk of osteoarthritis, where cartilage breaks down, and the bone-wasting condition osteoporosis was 33 and 29 per cent higher, respectively.

Diabetes could make people more likely to suffer from arthritis or osteoporosis, Danish researchers have discovered, and they say exercising is key for people to avoid both conditions

Chronic swelling in the joints which can be caused by – or cause – both diabetes and arthritis is thought to be the link between the two illnesses.

Experts fear the pain of arthritis could put people off exercise and worsen their diabetes, creating a vicious cycle which could, in turn, make the arthritis worse.

The Nordsjaellands University Hospital in Hillerød findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Berlin. 

Most of the 9,238 diabetic people in the study were assumed to have type 2 diabetes because they were over 40 and more likely to be overweight.


Women’s health becomes much worse than men’s in the run-up to type 2 diabetes, a study has revealed.

Researchers at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, found having diabetes reverses the advantage being a woman has in giving protection from heart disease.

Based on women aged 40-75 years, experts found women with prediabetes – the first step before the full-blown condition – have higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol and more fat in the blood than men in the same position.

This suggests the risk of heart problems for prediabetic women is higher than that for men – the opposite of what is seen in healthy people.

The authors wrote in their study: ‘There are already sex differences in [heart] risk factors before the onset of type 2 diabetes, to women’s disadvantage.’

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. 

Both diabetes and arthritis are common – more than 422 million people around the world are living with diabetes and 350 million have arthritis.

Researchers say inflammation – unhealthy swelling of tissues inside the body – can be caused by, or be a cause of, diabetes and may also trigger the skeletal illnesses.

Steroid treatments given to treat arthritis may also contribute to type 2 diabetes because they affect the body’s ability to absorb glucose or use insulin.

Type 2 diabetes and the bone conditions could be linked, too, and the researchers suggest having either raises the risk of the other.

Study author Dr Stig Molsted said: ‘It’s likely the chronic pain experienced by people with arthritis may be a barrier to exercising, which is also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

‘Health care professionals should make patients with diabetes aware that regular exercise is a recognised treatment for diabetes and arthritis, and can have positive effects on both blood sugar control as well as musculoskeletal pain.’

People with diabetes were found to be 27 per cent more likely to say they had back pain, and 29 per cent more likely to have pain in their shoulder or neck.

But people who were more physically active reported less pain than those who didn’t exercise – suggesting that activity is key to avoiding joint problems. 


Long-term testosterone therapy can reduce blood sugar levels and the need for insulin injections in men with type 2 diabetes who have low levels of the hormone, a study has found.

Research by German pharmaceuticals company Bayer AG studied the effect of testosterone injections over 10 years.

Of a group of 311 men with type 2 diabetes and low testosterone, 141 of them were given 1000mg injections of testosterone undecanoate – an anabolic steroid – every 12 weeks. Some 170 men did not receive the treatment.

By the end of the 10 years, the men taking the drug saw their blood glucose levels drop by an average of 31 per cent. The levels of men not having the therapy rose by 30 per cent.

Testosterone also allowed the men to reduce their insulin dose by 41 per cent, if they were using it, whereas the other men’s doses increased by 37 per cent.

And those taking the hormone therapy lost an average of almost 50lbs (23kg) in bodyweight.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.


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