Rheumatoid arthritis linked to type 2 diabetes

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a 23% increased risk of type 2 diabetes and may indicate that both diseases are linked to the body’s inflammatory response.

This is according to a new study presented at this year’s online annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).

The research was conducted by Zixing Tian and Dr Adrian Heald of the University of Manchester, UK, and colleagues.

Researchers found that rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

Inflammation emerged as a key factor in the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease.

The team suggested that the systemic inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis might therefore contribute to the risk of an individual developing diabetes in the future.

They conducted a meta-analysis of five studies and two conference abstracts with 1,629,854 participants conducted through March that compared type 2 diabetes incidence among adults with rheumatoid arthritis versus the general population.

Studies were conducted in Canada, Taiwan, the UK, and the US. All but one study were population-based.

Researchers found that rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

“We suggest that more intensive screening and management of diabetes risk factors should be considered in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

“Agents that reduce systemic inflammatory marker levels may have a role in preventing type 2 diabetes.

“This may involve focussing on more than one pathway at a time,” the researchers said.

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