People suffering from arthritis have more risk of developing diabetes. This indicates that there is a connection between diabetes & arthritis. Diabetes occurs when sufficient insulin is not produced in the body. Insulin is responsible for transferring glucose from foods into cells so that it can be converted into energy. In the absence of insulin, glucose remains in the blood thus raising the blood sugar and cells generate less energy.

The condition of diabetes causes musculoskeletal changes which result in joint pain and stiffness and a lot of other symptoms. A person who has diabetes from several years can develop diabetic arthropathy.

The Connection Between Arthritis and Diabetes

Both type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are auto-immune disorders. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas, while in rheumatoid arthritis it attacks the joint tissues.

Both the diseases share similar risk factors. This may be the cause for the development of arthritis in a diabetic patient or vice versa. The major risk factors behind both the diseases include age, gender, genetics and lifestyle (smoking, diet, physical activity or obesity).


A number of studies show that the cause of having rheumatoid arthritis and then developing diabetes is inflammation. It is found that levels of inflammatory cytokines – such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukins-1 and -6 are high in both rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

How Can You Manage Both the Diseases?

Physical activity is found to be the best way to manage both the conditions. Exercise helps to improve the function and mobility of joints, decrease blood glucose levels and manage body weight. Therefore, exercise helps to reduce the risk of complications associated with both conditions.

Following a dosage regimen is another important way to manage both the conditions simultaneously. For this, your physician will guide you and monitor your progress.

How Can You Reduce the Risk of Diabetes If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Following are some of the measures that can help you to minimize the risk of diabetes if you have arthritis:

  • Take treatment early: The risk of diabetes can be reduced by taking the right treatment as soon as possible because it will prevent joint damage and inflammation.
  • Maintain your weight: Overweight people have higher chances of developing diabetes.
  • Stay physically active: Regular exercise reduces the risk of developing type2 diabetes.
  • Eat healthy: Limit sugar consumption and choose a low-fat diet.