Surprising facts about the link between diabetes and osteoporosis
Does having diabetes increase your risk of osteoporosis? Surprisingly, the answer depends on the type of diabetes you have and the specific osteoporosis symptoms you are considering. Adult women with type 1 diabetes typically display all the symptoms of osteoporosis. They have a lower bone density, increased fracture risk, and slowed fracture healing compared to women without diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes have a higher bone density that may protect them from osteoporosis but an increased chance of suffering bone fractures. A closer look at diabetes and osteoporosis symptoms may explain the reasons behind these findings.
Type 1 diabetes and bone loss:
The link between Type 1 diabetes and bone loss may have to do with when the onset of diabetes occurs. Maximum bone mass is usually reached when people are in their early 30s. The onset of type 1 diabetes typically occurs at an early age when bones are still developing and building mass. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a deficit of insulin and decreased serum levels of an insulin-like growth factor that promotes bone density growth. This may lead to overall lower peak bone mass, rendering people with type 1 diabetes more susceptible to bone loss and increased risk of osteoporosis.
Type 2 diabetes and bone loss:
Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, individuals who have type 2 diabetes do not have low bone mass. Some studies show a correlation between poor glycemic control and suppression of bone turnover, although the bone metabolism normalizes once better control of glycemic control is restored. The difference in bone loss between the two types of diabetes may be linked to weight. People with type 2 diabetes are often overweight or obese. Increased body weight is associated with a corresponding increase in bone density, which may provide some protection from osteoporosis for people with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes and bone fractures
There is a clear link between both types of diabetes and bone fractures. It was once believed that having normal bone density would protect people with type 2 diabetes from fractures, but that is not the case. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, you still have an increased risk of bone fractures. The reason for this is not clear, although the increased risk might be linked to vision problems and nerve damage associated with diabetes.
Prevention of osteoporosis
While the link between diabetes and osteoporosis is quite clear, there are steps people with diabetes can take at every age to reduce the risk of decreased bone density and bone fractures.
- Eat a diet rich in calcium – Calcium-fortified foods, low-fat dairy products, and dark green leafy vegetables provide your body with calcium to build strong bones.
- Get enough Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps absorption of calcium and bone growth. Sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D, but many people also need supplements to get a sufficient amount of this important nutrient
- Exercise –Weight-bearing exercises and strength training can increase bone strength and density. Including flexibility and stretching exercises can help improve balance and lessen the possibility of falls and bone fractures. Regular exercise also improves glycemic control, which helps normalize bone metabolism with type 2 diabetes.