Children with juvenile inflammatory arthritis more prone to type 1 diabetes, says study

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girls-739071_1920 copyA new study involving more than 9,000 patients has shown that type 1 diabetes occurs more frequently in children with Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis (JIA) than in the general population.

The results of the study were presented at this year’s European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2016) where it was stated that a better understanding of this link between diabetes and JIA may lead to new preventative and therapeutic interventions in both diseases.

JIA, which causes pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints, and sometimes a rash and fever, is the most common chronic rheumatic disease of childhood, affecting between 20 – 150 children per 100,000 at any one time.

For this new study, 9,359 JIA patients with a mean age of 12 years and a mean disease duration of 4.5 years, recorded in the German national paediatric rheumatologic database (NPRD) in 2012 and 2013, type 1 diabetes was diagnosed in 50 of these children. This is equivalent to a diabetes prevalence of 0.5% which, compared to an age and sex matched sample of the general population, was significantly increased.

More than half of the patients (58%) developed diabetes before JIA with the onset of the diabetes on average five years before the onset of JIA.

“We know that there is a clear increase in the prevalence of Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis in young people with Type 1 diabetes compared with the general paediatric population,” says Dr Kirsten Minden from the Rheumatism Research Centre, Berlin, Germany. “However, this study shows the reverse correlation that Type 1 diabetes occurs more commonly in patients with JIA. The next step is to explore in detail the factors and mechanisms that link the two diseases, and confirm that these findings are applicable to other geographic areas, where different environmental and genetic factors are at play. By better understanding this link, we may be able to develop new preventative and therapeutic interventions.”

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