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OA and Type II Diabetes

October 24, 2012

A recent article in a European journal confirms that type II diabetes is an independent risk factor for severe osteoarthritis.  We already know obesity can make osteoarthritis worse, and that obesity can lead to type II diabetes.  But we are only learning now that the metabolic effects of type II diabetes may lead directly to ostoearthritis.  More importantly, Dr. Schett, the author of the paper, claims that type II diabetes makes it harder to treat osteoarthritis.  Dr. Schett found that osteoarthritis patients with type II diabetes had dramatically reduced the benefits from arthroplastic surgery.

Diabetic patients with osteoarthritis of the knee had increased swelling in the joint space when compared to non-diabetic people of the same age and BMI.  This suggests that the systemic effects of diabetes make osteoarthritis worse by increasing the stress on the cartilage.  It would be like adding 50 pounds of extra pressure to a joint already supporting a body above its weight-class.

This is not all bad news.  In many ways, this simplifies the treatment of osteoarthritis in patients with type II diabetes.  It means that instead of treating two conditions at the same time, treating the diabetes may help with the osteoarthritis directly.  It also means that addressing unhealthy eating habits, a well-known cause of type II diabetes, could be the only treatment necessary.  Weight-losing lifestyle changes may be the only way to a healthy body.  Not just on the surface, but for your bones, joints, and cartilage as well.

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