Norwegian researchers, writing in the February issue of Arthritis Care and Research, report that the presence of diabetes mellitus (DM) appeared to worsen hand pain in patients with radiographic erosive but not nonerosive osteoarthritis (OA). Given the limited knowledge about the drivers of pain and disability in hand OA, the research aimed to explore a broad range of potential explanatory factors. The authors expressed hope that “…a more nuanced knowledge about hand OA pain may be relevant for future targeted pain prevention and management." They additionally call for further prospective cohort and intervention studies that could illuminate whether intervening in diabetes may reduce hand OA risk or decrease the severity of hand pain.
The authors state that their study is the first to show that diabetes is associated with pain in erosive hand OA independently of BMI. Previous studies have noted a higher frequency of obesity, as well as of hypertension, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome. The reasons behind the diabetes-hand pain connection are unclear. The researchers speculate that diabetes may cause low-grade systemic inflammation resulting in more pain, a hypothesis supported by the observed association between diabetes and a higher number of joints with synovitis.
Read a news story, with link to the journal article, here.