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January 30, 2005

Aches and Pains, Other

Question from Martinsville, Indiana, USA:

I know from reading Ask the Diabetes Team questions that some autoimmune diseases are associated with type 1 diabetes, but I have not read if rheumatoid arthritis is associated with type 1 diabetes. Do people with type 1 have a higher risk of getting RA? I ask because I have RA, my Mom has RA and hypothyroidism, and my 11 year old type 1 daughter is complaining a lot about joint pain in the last few days. She says she aches all over, but especially in the hands and feet. She said she felt like she had a fever because she was chilled and achy, but her temperature was normal, as were her blood sugars. Her last 4 A1cs were 7.7 to 8.0. My daughter hasn't been tested for thyroid problems in just over a year because we missed our last appointment due to bad weather. Could this be a symptom of a thyroid problem instead? My plan, unless things get worse, is to give her Tylenol for the pain and wait until her next appointment in three months. Should she be seen sooner?

Answer:

It is hard to make any specific diagnosis on the Internet. Rheumatoid arthritis is a specific autoimmune disorder but only minimally, if at all, increased in those with type 1 diabetes. However, family members may have slightly more history of RA just as is the case with all other autoimmunopathies. If the symptoms worsen or do not go away, then you should discuss either with your primary care health care team and/or the diabetes team. The symptoms you list are not commonly seen with thyroid disorders but can occur with celiac disease.

SB