Study links RA to increased risk of diabetes

Study links RA to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

A scientific study from the UK shows that people with rheumatoid arthritis, (RA) may have a 23 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Research therefore suggests that preventive measures should be put in place for people with RA regarding risk factors and diabetes.

A new study presented at the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), shows that RA is associated with a 23 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This may indicate that both diseases are linked to the body's inflammatory response. The research was conducted by, among others, Zixing Tian and Dr Adrian Heald at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Inflammation is a key factor in both type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers who conducted the study therefore suspect that inflammation in RA may contribute to an increased risk of a person getting diabetes later in life.

The study was based on a weighting of several previous studies that included a total of 1.6 million participants. Through statistical analyses, the researchers were able to compare the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in people with RA and the general public. The researchers also state that statistical analyses were performed to avoid the result being affected by so-called publication bias, i.e. the risk that certain studies will not be published due to their results.

The authors of the study found that RA was associated with a 23 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with the risk of diabetes in the general public. They therefore believe that the results support the notion that inflammation is involved in the risk of developing diabetes.

The researchers suggest: "... that more intensive screening and management of risk factors for diabetes should be considered in people with rheumatoid arthritis."