Self Care, Diet and Nutrition, Bone Health
Yes. It can.
In some cases, diabetes can make your bones more fragile and put you at a higher risk for fracture.F
First, let’s review a few facts about diabetes.
Diabetes is a metabolism disorder that occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to lower and balance the body’s blood sugar (glucose) levels.
According to 2020 figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10.5% of the U.S. population has diabetes, and 34.5% has prediabetes.
Wisconsinites with the disease are close to the national average. Based on 2018 statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, Chronic Disease Prevention Program, 9 % of Wisconsinites have diabetes and 34% have prediabetes.
So, now that we know what diabetes is, let’s look at how it affects the bones.
How does diabetes affect the bones?
Decreased bone health is “an underappreciated complication of diabetes,” according to The Endocrine News, a publication of endocrine.org.
But surprisingly, low bone mineral density may not be the culprit, at least in people who have a high body mass index (BMI). People who are overweight or obese have normal bone mineral densities.
Yet, all people who suffer from diabetes – no matter their BMI – still have an increased risk of bone fracture.
Some reports suggest the effect of glucose on the bone-building enzymes leads to fragile bones. Other experts believe collagen glycation—a process where sugar molecules adhere to the collagen—making it hard for bone cells to use this protein for the normal growth, function, and replacement of bone cells is the cause.
Another factor leading to bone weakness is diabetes’s negative impact on the kidneys, resulting in a loss of calcium in the bones.
The impact of diabetes on bone health is especially concerning as more children develop prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Scientists do not know how high blood-sugar levels affect skeletal growth, which stores the necessary bone minerals needed later in life.
More research is needed to identify the effects of glucose exposure on bone development.
People who have had a long-term diagnosis of diabetes seem to be more at risk for complications that cause fractures.
Diabetes also elevates the risk of microvascular disease, leading to peripheral neuropathy, foot ulcers, and numbness in the feet and legs.
These conditions, along with diabetes-related vision problems, like retinopathy, and fainting from low blood sugar increase the risk of falls and fractures. Blood-sugar control is critical to minimize the severity of these diabetes-related conditions.
Can the risk of bone fragility and fracture from diabetes be prevented?
In some cases, lifestyle changes can help minimize the harmful impact diabetes has on bone health. Here are five areas to consider:
Of course, before changing diet, exercise routines, or taking supplements, people should talk to their health care provider to make sure these changes fit with their overall health care plan, especially if they have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.
Check out other articles published in February 2021:
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