Diabetes as a cause of osteoarthritis

Diabetes causes an increased risk of osteoarthritis. Georg Schett from the University of Erlangen evaluating the data from the so-called Bruneck study. Diabetics therefore need an artificial knee or hip joint significantly more often than people with healthy metabolism, the endocrinologists report in the specialist magazine "Diabetes Care".

The scientists used the Bruneck study as a database to determine possible connections between diabetes and osteoarthritis, which as a cohort study comprises an age and gender-specific random selection of 927 men and women between the ages of 40 and 80. The health data of all older residents of the locality of Bruneck in South Tyrol have been recorded since 1990. The development of the health status of the test subjects can be traced back over twenty years.

Diabetics get joint replacement more often According to the scientists, the Bruneck study offers "very reliable data for researching disease risks", since the hospital there is the only contact point for clinical care in the region and the migration of the population in the remote Alpine community is very low fails. When evaluating the data, the endocrinologists led by Professor Dr. Georg Schett states that people with type 2 diabetes were four times more likely to get an artificial hip or knee joint than the rest of Bruneck's residents. When the data were adjusted for age, obesity and other osteoarthritis risk factors, the likelihood of corresponding hip or knee joint surgery was still twice as high in diabetics as in the other villagers.

Increased blood sugar levels damage the joints In view of the current results, study leader Prof. Schett assumes that the permanently high blood sugar level in diabetes should be assessed as an independent risk factor for osteoarthritis. High blood sugar therefore favors joint wear. As scientists report, it has long been known that blood sugar can get into the articular cartilage. If blood sugar levels are elevated, this may damage cartilage cells and promote the formation of inflammatory proteins, such as the tumor necrosis factor alpha, reports Schett and colleagues. The joint-damaging effect of the tumor necrosis factor is also known from rheumatism (rheumatoid arthritis). In any case, type 2 diabetes favors the development of severe osteoarthritis - regardless of age and body mass index (BMI; relation between body weight and height). "Our results strengthen the concept of a strong metabolic component in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis," the researchers write.

Link between diabetes and arthrosis long undiscovered According to the assessment of the President of the German Diabetes Society (DDG), Professor Dr. med. Stephan Matthaei, the study once again emphasizes the need for early and consistent treatment of type 2 diabetes. Because "there is a lot to be said for osteoarthritis as a further late complication of type 2 diabetes" and therefore "optimal diabetes management could probably also prevent osteoarthritis," explained Matthaei. On the spread of arthrosis, the DDG reports that almost 400,000 people in Germany receive an artificial hip or knee joint every year. A direct connection to diabetes has not been established for a long time, "since both diseases are common in old age and obesity is an important risk factor" for both osteoarthritis and diabetes, reports Prof. Schett. (fp)

Also read:
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Treat diabetes holistically
Numerous risk factors cause diabetes
Diabetes is not a fate

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