Arthritis Can Keep People With Diabetes From Exercise

Craig Stoltz Health Guide
  • A nasty interplay observed between arthritis, diabetes and inactivity appears to multiply serious health risks, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


    The CDC study essentially found this: About half of diabetics have osteoarthritis, and those who have both diabetes and arthritis are signficantly less active than people who have only diabetes.


    Three things you need to know:


    1. The obvious inference is that people with osteoarthritis and diabetes have a serious problem. Exercise is a common recommendation for people with diabetes. But arthritis seems to discourage people from getting exercise, making the diabetes harder to manage than usual.

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    2. This suggests that diabetics with arthritis face greater health risks, which are very serious: microvascular damage that can lead to a variety of cardiovascular conditions, organ damage, vision loss and amputations, among others.


    3. But exercise is also a recommended treatment for people with arthritis. Since exercise can both reduce risk for and help manage diabetes and arthritis, it's easy to see why regular moderate exercise like walking or swimming (the kind recommended for people with arthritis and diabetes) is very important for people with both conditions, or either one.


    Note: The study is not the kind that proves a connection: It's an observation based on phone surveys of self-reported disease. This is not gold-standard science upon which serious recommendations can sit.


    Still, it offers another good reason for people with arthritis (or diabetes, or both) to commit themselves to an exercise program.


    Here's an excellent SharePost by Dr. Jonathan Krant about arthritis and exercise. I  wrote this SharePost earlier in the year about research that shows an exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation has modest benefits on pain and motion. And a recent question about the arthritis/exercise link drew three helpful answers from members of our community.


    Be sure to check out our resources in our diabetes community as well.

Published On: May 12, 2008