Studies have shown that almost half of the patients with diabetes also have arthritis. People with arthritis also have a higher risk of diabetes. So what is the connection? Part of the reason why there is this connection comes from inflammation. Some risk factors like inactivity and obesity contribute to the disease.
Arthritis has a different effect on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Here is a peek into the connection between diabetes and arthritis and how you can prevent and treat it.
What Is the Connection Between Type 1 Diabetes and Arthritis?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis. An autoimmune disease occurs when your body attacks itself. Rheumatoid arthritis targets the synovial tissues on the joints causing stiffness, pain, and swelling, among other symptoms. With type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Studies have shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely also to have type 1 diabetes than this without arthritis. Most patients were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before developing arthritis. Studies have shown the gene known as PTPN22 is linked with type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is the Connection Between Inflammatory Arthritis and Type 2 Diabetes?
There is no certain explanation to show how arthritis is connected to diabetes. However, research has shown that certain factors can drive this association:
- Inactivity: Arthritis patients may avoid exercising or moving around because of their painful, stiff joints. The less active you are, the higher your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Immobility can also increase your chances of being insulin resistant and predispose you to weight gain.
- Being obese and overweight is one of the main risk factors for type2 diabetes. It can also make it harder to manage inflammatory arthritis.
- Inflammation: type 2 diabetes and arthritis are characterized by inflammation. Inflammation is known to contribute to insulin resistance which could potentially promote type 2 diabetes.
Certain arthritis medication: Arthritis is treated with steroids such as prednisone which helps reduce inflammation in patients. However, some potential side effects of steroids, mainly when used in high doses, include increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Steroids can potentially impair the body’s ability to synthesize insulin.
What Is the Connection Between Osteoarthritis and Type 2 Diabetes?
Patients with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. Studies have shown obesity and age is also a considerable risk factor for osteoarthritis. Recent studies have also shown that high blood glucose levels greatly impact bone health due to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
AGEs form in the bloodstream when fat and protein combine. High blood sugar levels put the body at a higher risk of developing and building up AGEs. Once these compounds combine, they can lead to the damage of many tissues, including cartilage and bone. In addition, they lead to inflammation.
How Can I Reduce the Risk of Diabetes When You Have Diabetes?
There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, but there are crucial steps you can take to reduce your blood sugar levels and reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. They include:
Be More Active
It is essential to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity such as walking every five days a week. Regular exercise helps you control your weight and reduce your blood sugar levels. This helps reduce arthritis pain and helps to improve joint functions.
Before you get to any exercise regime, it is crucial to determine the safest for you.
Eat a balanced diet
Eat a diet with loads of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean sources of protein like fish, nuts, and lean cuts of meat. Ensure you control your portions to help you reduce the number of calories you eat. Also, choose foods that are low in fat and high in fiber for easier digestion.
Follow Your Arthritis Treatment Plan
When you follow your planned treatment, you will reduce inflammation in your body. Some arthritis medications have also been shown to protect the body against diabetes. You can ask your doctor to prescribe you medication that could potentially prevent you from getting diabetes.