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World Diabetes Day: Diabetes and Arthritis

Older person's hands

Today is World Diabetes Day. Dr. Jessica Gordon, Rheumatologist, describes the relationship between diabetes and arthritis. “Arthritis means inflammation of the joints and can be caused by many different conditions,” explains Dr. Gordon. Both arthritis and diabetes are common ailments, and affect a large portion of Americans.

  • Although diabetes and arthritis are not directly related, they can occur together and they share some of the same risk factors, such as being overweight or obese and increasing age. This is especially true for type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are both autoimmune conditions. There are certain genetic factors which may raise the risk for developing both conditions.
  • Certain treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, such as oral steroids, also raise the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Patients with diabetes frequently experience musculoskeletal and neurological pain apart from arthritis.
  • Diabetes can lead to swelling of the tissues and to carpal tunnel syndrome, hand stiffness and other conditions.

Dr. Jessica Gordon, rheumatologistDr. Jessica Gordon
is an Assistant Attending in the Department of Rheumatology at Hospital for Special Surgery. She specializes in the treatment of various rheumatologic conditions including scleroderma, vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.