WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Compared with populations without rheumatoid arthritis (RA), RA is associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), according to a study published online Aug. 5 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Yinzhu Jin, M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined the risk for incidence of T2DM among RA patients versus four comparison cohorts (general non-RA patients and hypertension, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis patients), with a total of 449,327 participants.

The researchers found that the incidence of T2DM was lowest in the RA cohort (7.0 per 1,000 person-years) and highest in the hypertension cohort (12.3 per 1,000 person-years) during a median of 1.6 years of follow-up. Compared with the four comparison groups, RA was associated with a 24 to 35 percent lower risk for incident T2DM after adjustment for more than 40 baseline covariates.

“While systemic inflammation in RA is thought to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors such as DM, our findings suggest having RA itself does not confer an increased risk of T2DM,” the authors write. “Future study should determine whether untreated RA or undertreated RA is associated with a greater risk of developing T2DM.”

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, which funded the study.

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