Diabetes Tied to Osteoarthritis

Type 2 diabetes may boost osteoarthritis and arthroplasty risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Type 2 diabetes has been known to cause problems in the heart, eyes and feet. New research suggests that diabetes may be linked to joint damage as well.

People with type 2 diabetes may have a higher risk of osteoarthritis than those without diabetes.

People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of diabetes. Obesity has also been linked to osteoarthritis. Other factors, such as age, can also add to osteoarthritis risk.

After taking into account these other factors that could lead osteoarthritis, the researchers found that type 2 diabetes was still a predictor of arthroplasty, with a hazard ratio of 2.1.

The risk of arthroplasty increased with the length of time patients had type 2 diabetes.

"Stay active to protect your joints and control diabetes."

Georg Schett, MD, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, and colleagues wanted to see if the presence of type 2 diabetes could predict severe osteoarthritis in the future.

Osteoarthritis is sometimes called the "wear-and-tear" arthritis because it happens when joints and joint tissues wear down through use over time.

Dr. Schett and colleagues found that people with type 2 diabetes were more likely than those without diabetes to undergo arthroplasty - a surgery to rebuild or replace damaged joints.

Rates of arthroplasty among diabetes patients were 17.7 per 1,000 person-years. In comparison, arthroplasty rates among those without diabetes were 5.3 per 1,000 person-years.

The study's results suggested that type 2 diabetes increased the risk of arthroplasty, with a hazard ratio of 3.8.

A hazard ratio explains how much an event happens in one group versus another. A ratio greater than 1.0 means the event happens more often in one group. In this case, type 2 diabetes patients were significantly more likely to undergo arthroplasty.

Dr. Schett and colleagues backed up these results in a second analysis.

They found more severe signs of osteoarthritis and changes in joint structure in people with type 2 diabetes, compared to those without diabetes.

According to the authors, these findings add to the evidence that metabolic factors (i.e. factors having to do with diabetes and heart disease) play a role in the disease process of osteoarthritis.

The research included 927 men and women between 40 and 80 years of age who were followed for more than 20 years.

The study was published September 21 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 23, 2012
Last Updated:
September 27, 2012