Patients who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the recent analysis of a US commercial insurance database. The analysis, which was published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, compared adults with rheumatoid arthritis to patients diagnosed with other health issues.
A total of 449,327 people were included in the analysis, which divided patients into four groups for comparison to rheumatoid arthritis patients. The groups included patients without rheumatoid arthritis, patients with hypertension, osteoarthritis, and patients with psoriatic arthritis.
All patients were followed for an average of 1.6 years. It was found that the rate of type 2 diabetes development was lowest in the rheumatoid arthritis group (7.0 per 1,000 people per year) and highest (12.3 per 1,000 people per year) in the hypertension group. Overall, patients with rheumatoid arthritis were associated with a 24% to 35% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with the four other groups.
No Association with Type 2 Diabetes
“While systemic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, our findings unexpectedly show that having rheumatoid arthritis itself does not confer an increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared with four different comparator groups,” said senior author Seoyoung C. Kim, MD, ScD, MSCE. “Since all rheumatoid arthritis patients included in our study were treated with at least one disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, our study is unable to test the association between no treatment or undertreatment for rheumatoid arthritis and risk of type 2 diabetes.”
This study adds to mounting evidence that certain diseases may be associated with a higher risk for other types of illnesses or diseases. Researchers believe that this type of information can help physicians when looking to offer preventative treatments for health issues related to rheumatoid arthritis.
With the conclusion of this study offering no association between rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes, patients can focus on other health issues that may be linked with the autoimmune disease. Health care experts stress how important it is to know the relationship between illnesses so they can better prepare patients to lower the risk associated with rheumatoid arthritis.