Arthritis Today

Arthritis & Diabetes

What do diabetes and arthritis have in common? Plenty.

People with diagnosed diabetes are nearly twice as likely to have arthritis, indicating a diabetes-arthritis connection.

Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce or use the hormone insulin sufficiently. Insulin shuttles glucose from foods into cells so it can be converted into energy. Without insulin, glucose remains in your blood (raising blood glucose levels), your cells create less energy and you feel fatigued.

What starts off as a hormonal problem can evolve into joint problems, in addition to the widely known cardiovascular problems.

Diabetes causes musculoskeletal changes that lead to symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness; swelling; nodules under the skin, particularly in the fingers; tight, thickened skin; trigger finger; carpal tunnel syndrome; painful shoulders; and severely affected feet. After having had diabetes for several years, joint damage – called diabetic arthropathy – can occur.

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