A connection between two diseases and how their various symptoms interact with each may offer more clues as to the cause of either condition.
Dr Fernando Ovalle, from the University of Alabama, said diabetes and arthritis have a connection on multiple levels, the Birmingham News reports.
The doctor said people with arthritis may be inactive, which could cause a person to gain more weight and develop diabetes, according to the article.
Also, people with diabetes may be more likely to gain weight and put more strain on joints, leading to arthritis.
Ovalle told the news provider the connection offers clues to the disease and will assist other doctors when they prescribe medication. Some arthritis medicine to control chronic pain can contribute to kidney failure, which isn't good for diabetics.
"Steroids, powerful drugs that doctors sometimes use to fight the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis, also pose serious risks to people with diabetes," said Orvalle.
As of 2007, there were approximately 23.6 million people diagnosed with diabetes. However, the condition is much more prevalent in older people aged 60 and above with approximately 12 million diagnosed.