When I first saw this headline about the causes of OA and type 2 diabetes being linked I thought “No surprise there!”. After all it has long been known being overweight contributes to the onset of osteoarthritis in weight bearing joints. The mechanism for this is not hard to imagine as for each pound of weight you are it translate to 4 pounds of pressure through your knees due to the small weight bearing surface area.
As being overweight is the main cause of Type 2 diabetes I thought it is hardly rocket science that the causes of OA and type 2 diabetes linked.
What is interesting about this research on proof the causes of OA and type 2 diabetes are linked was published in the American Diabetes Association is that this is INDEPENDENTLY linked. This suggests it is not the actual increased weight that is problem but something else.
The conclusions of the study were:
Rates of arthroplasty (95% CI) were 17.7 (9.4–30.2) per 1,000 person-years in patients with type 2 diabetes and 5.3 (4.1–6.6) per 1,000 person-years in those without (P < 0.001). Type 2 diabetes emerged as an independent risk predictor for arthroplasty: hazard ratios (95% CI), 3.8 (2.1–6.8) (P < 0.001) in an unadjusted analysis and 2.1 (1.1–3.8) (P = 0.023) after adjustment for age, BMI, and other risk factors for OA. The probability of arthroplasty increased with disease duration of type 2 diabetes and applied to men and women, as well as subgroups according to age and BMI. Our findings were corroborated in cross-sectional evaluation by more severe clinical symptoms of OA and structural joint changes in subjects with type 2 diabetes compared with those without type 2 diabetes.
This led them to conclude:
Type 2 diabetes predicts the development of severe OA independent of age and BMI. Our findings strengthen the concept of a strong metabolic component in the pathogenesis of OA.
So even if you take out the weight (the BMI) osteoarthritis is still linked with Type 2 diabetes.
In What Way are the Causes of OA and Type 2 Diabetes Linked?
That hasn’t been proved yet but I think logic suggests it must be a problem at cell level. My suggestion is there is a break down in the way the cells are reproducing themselves. So both the cartilage cells and the cells that produce insulin are not being reproduced properly or are faulty in some way so cannot due their job properly which causes the conditions.
This is definitely an area for future study. It is a significant finding. If science can find what are the causes of OA and type 2 diabetes they are much more likely to be able to find a cure. Or rather than a cure they can find a way from preventing it happening in the first place.
Will Finding the Causes of OA Help Us Current Sufferers?
Sorry but I doubt it. To be able to find a way of preventing AND reversing OA is highly unlikely. It is good news for our children and grandchildren though as there is a there is a genetic link to OA so if we have it then they are more likely to get it.
All we can do is carry on treating OA the way we are.
I am someone who looks forward and not back. Although finding the causes of OA will help my future generations ( and for that reason I find it exciting and interesting) it will not help me. The damage is done so I need to keep up my treatments and exercises. To find out more about how you can make simple lifestyle changes and use some proven home treatments sign up for my free 3 day course.