Evidence is presented for the first time of a significantly increased prevalence of type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes in the close relatives of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Thirty-nine (13%) of 295 patients with classical or definite rheumatoid arthritis had a first or second degree relative with type 1 diabetes and 38 (13%) had a close relative with autoimmune thyroid disease. These findings could be compatible with a possible common genetically determined mechanism of susceptibility to both diseases.
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