Studies Show Other Health Risks Prevalent for Diabetes Patients

Dealing with diabetes is difficult enough for many people, but this disease may now be compounded with an increased risk of developing other serious health issues, according to two recently released studies.

Osteoarthritis and Diabetes

Patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis), even if they have their weight and BMI under control, according to a systematic review performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

Researchers analyzed 10 studies that examined the association between type 2 diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, and osteoarthritis, according to Endocrine Today. Given such a large grouping of data, and that the studies controlled for weight or BMI, there was a clear link between these patients with diabetes and a potential to develop osteoarthritis.

“Osteoarthritis is more than just wear and tear of joints,” Sangeeta Kashyap, MD, associate professor of medicine at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, told Endocrine Today, regarding the research. “It is closely related to type 2 diabetes and prediabetes independent of obesity.”

This finding also showed that treating diabetes needs to accommodate for the symptoms and risks of osteoarthritis.

“Implementing exercise training for patients with diabetes needs to encompass how they are affected by osteoarthritis,” Kashyap said.

As if this news wasn’t bad enough, another study found that diabetes patients faced more health risks.

Liver Disease Risks Linked to Diabetes

A study performed at the University of Edinburgh found that individuals with type 2 diabetes were more likely than those without the disease to develop and die from chronic liver disease, according to Medscape Medical News.

The research should increase “awareness of clinicians of the higher risk of the full range of chronic liver diseases among people with diabetes,” Sarah H Wild, MB, BChir, PhD, University of Edinburgh, told Medscape in an email.

Patients were studied for 10 years and researchers found links between those with type 2 diabetes and a number of chronic liver diseases, most prevalently nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The researchers concluded that patients with type 2 diabetes should be instructed about managing their weight, alcohol intake, and dietary choices. Also, doctors should monitor their patients’ clinical histories to ensure that they aren’t already at an elevated risk of chronic liver conditions.

But, it wasn’t all bad news for diabetes patients, as another group of English researchers found that controlling and reversing the disease is quite possible.

Extreme Diets Could Reverse Diabetes for Some

Researchers at Newcastle University used an “extreme diet plan” for a group of diabetic patients and found that, after eight weeks, nearly half of the participants had no symptoms of diabetes, according to Quartz Magazine.

The study, published in the Diabetes Care Journal, noted that most of the patients who experienced this reversal in symptoms were generally healthy individuals and had diabetes for less than four years. However, researchers were still surprised at the effectiveness of such an extreme diet and are looking to expand the study in terms of breadths of patient sample and length of having such an eating program.

This type of research highlights the importance of monitoring diabetes and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Patient outcomes are vastly improved by incorporating significant lifestyle changes into a program that involves medical staff like care coordinators and doctors in this decision-making processes. Increased communication through technology that facilitates patient-doctor exchanges, is often the best way for diabetes management to become a proactive approach and not just a reactionary system.