Researchers at the University of Sheffield have found that people with diabetes are more at risk to suffer from bone fractures. The findings revealed during Diabetes Awareness Week help to raise awareness of the multitude of health problems associated with diabetes.
Sutter Health and the University of Sheffield in collaboration found that people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of suffering from hip and non-vertebral fractures (those occurring in the spine or skull). Those with type 1 diabetes were at greater risk over those with type 2 diabetes. However, results showed that insulin use and the length of time someone has lived with the condition further increased the risk for people with type 2 diabetes.
A Multitude of Complications
Lead researcher Dr. Tatiane Vilaca from the University of Sheffield’s Mellanby Centre for Bone Research said: “Diabetes can cause a number of well-known complications including kidney problems, loss of eyesight, problems with your feet and nerve damage. However, until now many people with diabetes and their doctors are unaware that they are also at greater risk of bone fractures.
“We need to raise awareness about the greater risk people with diabetes face to help them to prevent fractures. For example, preventing falls can reduce their risk of fracture.
“Fractures can be very serious, especially in older people. Hip fractures are the most severe as they cause such high disability. Around 76,000 people in the UK suffer a hip fracture every year and it is thought as many as 20 percent of people will die within a year of the fracture. Many others don’t fully regain mobility, and for many people it can cause a loss of independence.”
With cases of diabetes raising worldwide, researchers are working to address all complications known to the disease. This study published in the journal Bone helps to outline the effect diabetes can have on bone health, specifically the risk of fractures.
Professor Richard Eastell, Professor of Bone Metabolism and Director of the University of Sheffield’s Mellanby Centre for Bone Research said: “This important research highlights the urgent need for doctors to evaluate the risk of fracture for patients with diabetes and also to look at potential treatments which may help to reduce that risk.
“We hope that by raising awareness about the greater risk people with diabetes face, bone density and bone strength will become something that doctors assess routinely in patients with the condition in the same way they do currently for other well-known complications.”
Researchers hope the findings will encourage doctors to become more aware of the increased risk of fractures in their patients with diabetes. They encourage patients to ask their doctors about their fracture risk and what they can do to help prevent it.
As diabetes is associated with many secondary health problems, doctors need to work with their patients and come up with prevention plans to help them avoid any further complications.