Objective: To explore the relation between noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and osteoarthritis (OA) in a population.
Methods: The study population included 632 men and 882 women aged 52-95 years from the Rancho Bernardo community. In 1984-87, participants answered questions about history of diabetes and had a standard oral glucose tolerance (OGTT). In 1988-92, subjects completed a questionnaire about history of arthritis, type of arthritis diagnosed, and presence of joint pain. Nurses examined subjects for presence of Heberden's nodes. Subjects with no history of arthritis were compared to those with a history of OA and other types of arthritis with regard to age, body size, and plasma glucose levels. In addition, subjects were classified by diabetes status to determine differences in the prevalence of arthritis and related characteristics.
Results: Neither impaired glucose tolerance nor NIDDM was associated with history of OA, regardless of how inclusive the definition of OA, before or after adjustment for age and maximum lifetime obesity. In age and obesity adjusted analyses, men with a history of OA had lower fasting plasma glucose levels than men with no arthritis (100.2 vs. 103.6 mg/dl, p < 0.05), and men with NIDDM had less hand and hip pain than normoglycemic men (p < 0.05). Heberden's nodes were unrelated to glucose tolerance status.
Conclusion: This population based study found no positive association between clinical OA and NIDDM defined by OGTT. These results are compatible with community based data examining radiographic OA and history of diabetes.