A recent analysis of a US commercial insurance database found that adults with rheumatoid arthritis had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than other individuals, including those with other types of arthritis.
The analysis, which is published in Arthritis Care & Research, compared adults with rheumatoid arthritis with four other groups: individuals from the general population without rheumatoid arthritis, individuals with hypertension, individuals with osteoarthritis, and individuals with psoriatic arthritis. A total of 449,327 people were included.
During the median of 1.6 years of follow-up, 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. After adjustments, rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a 24% to 35% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with the four other groups.
“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, of Harvard Medical School. “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.”