What Do Arthritis and Diabetes Have In Common? 

 February 22, 2024

By  Linda Rook

pricking finger for diabetes


Arthritis is a common disease that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition attacks the joints making them very painful, swelling, and inflamed, also they can attack your organs as in RA. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, with each having their own unique symptoms.

Whereas type 1 diabetes or T1D is a medical condition that attacks the insulin making it incapable to produce insulin.  Which is a hormone that regulates the blood sugar level.  Diabetes also attacks millions of people worldwide, and needs lifelong management.

Both conditions can have an impact on your health, as they seem to be unrelated, but evidence have found that there is a potential connection between the conditions.

In this blog I shall explore the basics of arthritis and diabetes, its causes, symptoms treatment, and its impact on your daily life.

Basics of Arthritis.

There are 100 different types of arthritis, and some common types include:

1.    Osteoarthritis (OA): This first one is the most common type of arthritis, and it is the wearing away of the protective cartilage, that cushions the ends of the joints, if not seen early enough it can wear away over time.  The joints that are affected are your weight bearing joints, such as knees, hips, also the spine.

2.  Rheumatoid arthritis (RA):  The second one is called an autoimmune disorder, as it attacks you joints but also your healthy immune system by mistake, such as your synovium.  

3.    Psoriatic arthritis: This occurs if you have a skin condition like psoriasis.  It also affects the joints and causes swelling.

4.    Ankylosing Spondylitis:  Goes under the umbrella of RA as it is a type of inflammatory arthritis, that mainly affects the spine, which causes stiffness and pain. It can also affect other joints and your organs. 

5.    Gout:  Gout is a type of arthritis that attacks mainly your big toe. It is associated with too much uric acid crystals in your joints. 

Common Symptoms:

Arthritis symptoms depends on the type of arthritis that you have developed, some common signs can include:

1.    Painful joints.

2.    Stiffness in the joints.

3.    Swelling or inflammation of the joints.

4.    Limiting joint movement.

5.    Other common symptoms could be fatigue, or feeling nausea.


Causes and Risk Factors:

The risk factors could be the following:

1.    Genetics: you are at a high risk if a member of your family has arthritis.

2.    Age: You can develop arthritis at any age from the elderly to your toddlers.

3.    Autoimmune Factors: Some arthritis attack your immune systems such as the tissues in your joints.

4.    Injury: If you have an injury of your joints you may develop osteoarthritis. As in my case I fell on some ice, and developed OA in my right hip, where now I have a artificial hip, and I have osteoarthritis in my knees, other hip, shoulder and hands.

I did not think of the fall until it got too late, So, if you have any symptoms of arthritis, you should not delay and get it sorted.

5.    Obesity: If you are over weight you need to diet as you are putting more pressure on your already unhealthy weight-bearing joints such as your hips and knees.

Management and Treatment:

The management of arthritis often involves the following:

1.    Medications: You may be prescribed pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or disease-modifying medications.

2.    Physical Therapy: you should go to physio as they can give you a program that can reduce pain, and enhance mobility.

3.    Lifestyle Changes: Having a healthy weight, and eating a balanced diet, and keep moving with low impact exercise can help to keep your joints moving.

4.    Assistive Devices: You will be able to find devices that could help you in your local mobility shop.

5.    Surgery: In severe cases, you may need a joint replacement surgery, to alleviate pain and improve joint function.

A weekly box of medication.

Basics of type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, it happens when your healthy immune system, which is a defence mechanism that protects you from infections and diseases.  Starts to attack the insulin production of your cells in the pancreas.

Key Points:

1.    Insulin Deficiency:  The main cause is a lack of insulin. The Insulin regulates your blood sugar (glucose) levels, this glucose help you to have energy. If you do not have insulin, the glucose will accumulate in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia).

2.    Diagnosis in Childhood or Adolescence: Type 1 diabetes is common in childhood or adolescence, all though it can occur in any age.

Glass of water


Common symptoms could be as follows:

1.    Excessive Thirst and the need to urinate more.

2.    Unexplained weight loss.

3.    Feeling extremely tired and fatigued.

4.    You may become increased hunger. 

5.    Or you may develop blurred vision.

Management and Treatment:

The next list are six things on how you can manage your diabetes, managing and understand what is happening to your body.

1.    Insulin Therapy: 

2.    Blood Sugar Monitoring:

3.    Carbohydrate Counting: 

4.    Regular Exercise: 

5.    Healthy Diet: 

6.    Medical Check-ups: 

Diabetes Medication

The Relationship Between Arthritis and Type 1 Diabetes.

Arthritis and Type 1 diabetes are basically different in their appearances and impact, but they do share some common factors.  Which include:


1.    Autoimmune Basis: Both Type 1 diabetes and some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis are autoimmune diseases. Type 1 diabetes attacks and can destroy your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Arthritis however attacks your immune system which mistakenly targets your joint tissues.

2.    Genetics: Genetics play an important role in the development of both conditions.

Implications if You Have Both Arthritis and Diabetes.

If you develop both arthritis and diabetes you could have difficulty in managing both.  You may have different specialists from a variety of fields, such as, you may need a Endocrinology and also a Rheumatology, a physiotherapy to keep you active and much more...

Another complication may be that your medication for arthritis could have an interaction with your medication for diabetes. You should maintain a healthy life with a balanced diet, keep active, and much more...


Both diabetes and arthritis are complex conditions that it is important to have an ongoing management and treatment. they share a common risk factors and complications.

Therefore you should understand the type of arthritis you have, as it depends on the symptoms and conditions.  diabetes type 1 affects the blood sugar level.  It is vital to see your doctor early so that they can diagnose the symptoms early.

The link between arthritis and type 1 diabetes, needs more research.  But there has been cases that if you develop diabetes type 2 you may develop osteoarthritis.

I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

In the meantime, if this post is informative, I would be very grateful if you would help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter (X) or Facebook or send them an email.

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I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries, you should consult your doctor.

I hope this blog has helped.


More Information.



Linda Rook

Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 

Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.

Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.

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