Being able to predict who is at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes can certainly enable many people and their doctors to plan accordingly: preventing full-blown Type 2 diabetes or, at least, controlling it early. In an earlier article we discussed psoriasis and diabetes. Now information is available from a study of psoriatic arthritis and Type 2 diabetes.
Investigators at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and other facilities in Israel watched many people with psoriatic arthritis for 21 years. Their study, published in the journal Dermatology Research and Practice in June 2013, included:
- 549 participants with psoriatic arthritis, and
- 1,098 individuals without the condition.
By the end of the study:
- 15.3 percent of the participants with psoriatic arthritis, and
- 10.7 percent of those without this form of arthritis,
developed Type 2 diabetes. The biggest difference was seen in women with:
- 18.7 percent of women with psoriatic arthritis, and
- 10.3 percent of women without this type of arthritis
developing Type 2 diabetes.
From these results it was concluded it might be a good idea to screen women with psoriatic arthritis for diabetes.
Preventing Type 2 diabetes and controlling psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can both be helped by achieving or maintaining a normal weight. Psoriasis and Type 2 diabetes are both associated with being overweight, and obesity. Keeping weight within normal limits puts less strain on the joints than forcing them to carry unnecessary fat.
Psoriatic arthritis can be diagnosed and treated either by a dermatologist or a rheumatologist. The definitive diagnosis of psoriasis is made by a skin biopsy. The arthritic component of the condition is usually diagnosed on the basis of medical history, physical examination, and sometimes X-rays, MRI, or blood testing for rheumatoid factor. It is a symmetrical condition that usually starts with stiffness in the fingers and can spread throughout the body’s joints.
Screening for Type 2 diabetes is commonly performed with a blood test called the fasting plasma glucose (FPG). Blood sugar levels are determined after an overnight fast. If the FPG is at least 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L), it will be repeated. If it remains high, an oral glucose tolerance test or an HbA1c can be performed to diagnose or rule out diabetes. The glucose tolerance test consists of swallowing 75 grams of sugar and measuring blood sugar levels to determine how fast the sugar is cleared from the blood. The HbA1c measures the sugar in the red blood cells to determine the amount of sugar that has been in the blood for about the past 3 months.
Eating a vegan diet full of nutrients and low in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates is a good place to start prevention. Walking, swimming, bicycle riding, or performing some other type of aerobic exercise with the advice of the diabetic’s doctor can also be helpful.