Diabetes protein joint swelling

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

The relationship between diabetes and joint swelling is a mixed bag.

Patients with diabetic kidney disease will often have protein leak from their kidneys. This condition causes fluid retention and swelling in the legs. The subcutaneous tissues are affected but the joints are not.

Patients with severe forms of autoimmune arthritis such as systemic lupus erythematosus, severe rheumatoid arthritis, giant cell arteritis, polymyositis, and so on often require corticosteroids for control of their disease. These high doses of medicine will cause diabetes to develop.

Sometimes, people with arthritis and a swollen joint will need to undergo withdrawal of the fluid from the joint. This is called joint aspiration. Complications of joint aspiration are uncommon. Possible complications include local bruising, minor bleeding into the joint, and loss of pigment in the skin around the injection site. A rare, but serious, complication of joint aspiration is infection of the joint (septic arthritis).

Increased blood sugar (worsening of diabetes mellitus) is another side effect of steroid injection.

Diabetic cheiroarthropathy involves the small joints of the hands, although it can affect larger joints such as wrist, shoulder, knees, hips. It is usually painless but numbness and pain may be present if there is blood vessel involvement in the hand.It causes deformity and loss of movement of the fingers. The affected fingers are swollen with a thick, tight and waxy skin and there is an inability to press both hands together. This is called the "diabetic prayer sign." Other disorders of the hand associated with diabetes are carpel tunnel syndrome and Dupuytren's contracture.

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis is calcification of the spinal ligaments and the most common area affected is the thoracic spine. General calcification of other ligaments and tendons is also seen. The symptoms are stiffness of the neck and back with decreased movement. The prevalence of DISH is higher in people with Type 2 diabetes who are obese.

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