The Link between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diabetes


Also known as RA, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that results in your immune system destroying the tissue that allows the joints to move freely. Although rheumatoid arthritis can affect anyone, those suffering from other autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of developing the condition. In fact, research has shown that RA raises your risk of developing type 1 diabetes by almost 50 percent.

There is a connection between diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. According to experts, there are a variety of things that play a role in this connection. RA causes inflammation. While this inflammation can aid healing to a certain degree, it can also cause the body to stop responding to drugs the way it is supposed to. Overtime, it can raise the risk of developing diabetes. This normally occurs when the body resists the effects of insulin or does not make enough insulin.

Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are both autoimmune diseases. The function of the immune system is to destroy “germs” in the body. However, at times, the immune system can go haywire and start attacking the body’s cells.

Certain rheumatoid arthritis may increase your blood sugar. Some drugs that are used for treating RA may raise your risk of diabetes by increasing your blood sugar. Some of these drugs include steroids and statins.

Diabetes can trigger inflammation. While RA is caused by environmental factors and genetics, chronic inflammation from diabetes may also lead to RA. Inflammation may therefore cause those who have a genetic risk, to develop the condition earlier.

You may be able to reduce your diabetes risk if you have RA. Try to keep your diabetes under control. In order to keep the condition in check you need to take your medication as prescribed. However, if you are still worried about the symptoms, talk to your doctor. S/he may prescribe a different drug or dosage to treat the condition.

Seek the treatment as soon as possible. By taking the right medicine early, you can easily prevent inflammation and joint damage. This can prevent the pain that might keep you from exercising.

Be active and keep healthy weight. If you weigh too much then may need to lose some weight in order to reduce the risk of diabetes. More so, since exercise lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, always aim to move for at least 30 minutes a day.

Since being more active may be difficult if you are suffering from RA, you should talk to your doctor about some of the ways that you can lower the risk of diabetes. This may include getting in touch with a physical therapist who can tell you about a program that can increase your level of activity while shielding your joints from any pain.

If your condition hasn’t reached a point where you need drugs, there are some simple healthy habits that can go a long way in helping you to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, without any negative side effects.

*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.