Long term type 1 diabetes is associated with hand pain, disability and stiffness but not with structural hand osteoarthritis features - The Dialong hand study

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Objective: To explore whether having long-term type 1 diabetes (>45 years) is associated with a higher prevalence of radiographic hand OA, erosive hand OA and increased hand pain, disability and stiffness. Methods: In total N = 96 persons with type 1 diabetes diagnosed before 1970 were included (mean [SD] age: 62.2 [7.4], mean [SD] HbA1c: 7.43 [0.80] and N = 49 [51%] men). Regular measurements of their HbA1c were obtained till 2015. We included N = 69 healthy controls without any diabetes (mean [SD] age: 63.0 [7.0], mean [SD] HbA1c: 5.41 [0.32], N = 29 [42%] men). The groups were compared for radiographic hand OA (Kellgren-Lawrence grade ≥2 in ≥1 joint) and erosive hand OA (central erosions in ≥1 joint), Australian/Canadian index (AUSCAN) for hand pain, disability and stiffness using regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, educational level and waist circumference. Results: We found no associations between having long term type 1 diabetes and more prevalent radiographic hand OA (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.38-1.81). We found a trend towards higher prevalence of erosive hand OA in diabetes patients (OR = 2.96, 95% CI = 0.82-10.64). Strong and consistent associations were observed between long term type 1 diabetes and increased hand pain (B = 2.78, 95% CI = 1.65-3.91), disability (B = 5.30, 95% CI = 3.48-7.12) and stiffness (B = 2.00, 95% CI = 1.33-2.67). These associations were particularly strong for women and participants below the median age of 61 years. Conclusion: Long-term type 1 diabetes was not associated with radiographic hand OA, but was strongly associated with hand pain, disability and stiffness. The association between diabetes and erosive hand OA warrants further investigation.


  • Karin Magnusson
  • Kristine Bech Holte
  • Niels Gunnar Juel
  • Jens Ivar Brox
  • Kåre Birger Hagen
  • Ida Kristin Haugen
  • Tore Julsrud Berg
External organisations
  • National Advisory Unit on Rehabilitation in Rheumatology
  • Diakonhjemmet Hospital
  • Oslo university hospital
  • University of Oslo
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
  • Orthopedics
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0177118
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1
Publication categoryResearch