Osteoporosis: Yet another Complication of Diabetes? (Part 3)

By Amy Campbell | December 2, 2008 12:54 pm

I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that December is here already.

This week, we’ll wrap up the series on osteoporosis by leading off with steps you can take to prevent it.


Osteoporosis is debilitating, and while we’re fortunate now to have a small arsenal of drugs to help treat it, it’s always best to focus on trying to prevent it in the first place. The catch, of course, is to take steps when you’re young because, unfortunately, you can’t turn back the hands of time. But no matter what your age is, there are measures you can take to prevent your bones from becoming more fragile. A combination of diet and supplements, exercise, and lifestyle factors can help your bones stay strong.

More of these:

Less of these:

Diabetes and Osteoporosis
There seems to be a link between diabetes and osteoporosis. In fact, there’s been a fairly long-standing association between Type 1 diabetes and this bone disease, with a significant increase in hip fractures among women with Type 1 diabetes compared to women without diabetes.

According to the Iowa Women’s Health Study, women with Type 1 were 12 times more likely to have had a fracture compared to women without diabetes. So, it seems that the longer one has Type 1, the greater the chances of osteoporosis. Why would this happen?

It’s possible that insulin[1] somehow plays a role in helping a person build bone mass. And since many people with Type 1 develop diabetes at a fairly young age, perhaps they never really get a chance to build up sufficient bone density. Furthermore, women with Type 1 may have a higher risk of osteoporosis due to their already increased risk of hypoglycemia[2]. Frequent hypoglycemic episodes can increase the chances of falling, and therefore, the chances of having bone fractures.

People with Type 2 diabetes aren’t necessarily off the hook either. It was thought that, because people with Type 2 diabetes tend to have an increased body mass, they would be protected against osteoporosis. However, people with Type 2 are more likely to suffer fractures due to falls, possibly because of decreased vision and neuropathy[3].

Bottom line: Do what you can to protect your bones and know your risk factors for osteoporosis.

  1. insulin: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/Diabetes_Definitions/Insulin
  2. hypoglycemia: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/Diabetes_Definitions/Hypoglycemia
  3. neuropathy: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/Diabetes_Definitions/Neuropathy

Source URL: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/osteoporosis-yet-another-complication-of-diabetes-part-3/

Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin.

Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.

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