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This study says rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of diabetes by 23%

Published on:21 September 2020, 18:38pm IST
If you think rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are old-age problems, then you are highly mistaken.
Team Health Shots
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Scientists have found a link between rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Diabetes is in the news these days because the scientific community is talking about a link that connects two dangerous disorders–diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

According to a new study, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) 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.

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

This is what the study has to say
Inflammation has 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 suggests that the systemic inflammation associated with RA might therefore contribute to the risk of individuals developing diabetes in the future.

The team conducted a comprehensive search of a range of medical and scientific databases up to March 10, 2020, for cohort studies comparing the incidence of type 2 diabetes among people with RA to the diabetes risk within the general population.

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Statistical analyses were performed to calculate the relative risks, as well as to test for possible publication bias (in which the outcome of research influences the decision of whether to publish it or not).

The eligible studies identified comprised a total of 1,629,854 participants. Most of the studies were population-based and one was hospital-based, while no evidence was found for publication bias in any of them.

The authors found that having rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a 23% higher chance of developing T2D, compared to the diabetes risk within the general population.

“This finding supports the notion that inflammatory pathways are involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes,” the authors said.

“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 stated. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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