Bone deterioration another complication of diabetes

In addition to heart disease, nerve damage, eye problems and other health issues, skeletal deterioration can now be added to the list of diabetes-associated complications.

A new study from the Mayo Clinic confirms what physicians have long thought about bone health and the blood sugar condition.

“This is the first demonstration – using direct measurement of bone strength in the body – of compromised bone material in patients with type 2 diabetes,” said Sundeep Khosla, M.D., Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior author of the study. “Clearly, the skeleton needs to be recognized as another important target of diabetes complications.”

Fracture levels higher

Previous research on the topic revealed that diabetes patients tend to have fractures at levels of bone density above those of other people, suggesting that the bone "quality" of someone with diabetes has a different profile.

To confirm this, the Mayo Clinic team studied 60 postmenopausal women, 30 of whom had type 2 diabetes. The researchers performed micro-indentation testing of the tibia with a tool called OsteoProbe, causing a microscopic crack to measure bone strength and quality.

The women with diabetes showed significantly lower bone strength, but there was no difference in the microarchitecture of the bone density between the diabetic women and the control group.

Underestimated risk

The main takeaway from the study, researchers said, is that conventional medicine has underestimated the risk of bone fracture among patients with type 2 diabetes.

"The study showed that diabetic women with lower bone material strength had also experienced higher levels of hyperglycemia over the previous 10 years, suggesting potential detrimental effects of poor glucose control on bone quality," a press release on the study stated.

The team concluded that more research needs to be done, but that compromised bone health can now be considered a clear consequence of diabetes.

Results of the research are published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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