Diabetes Weakens Bones in Seniors
Although older adults with type 2 diabetes are more likely than their peers without the condition to have normal or higher-than-normal bone density, a new study suggests they are actually at increased risk for fractures. The study was conducted by researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research in Boston, Massachusetts, and was recently published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
According to researchers, weaknesses in the dense outer surface of bone – called cortical bone – are more common in seniors with type 2 diabetes and these deficits in the bones’ protective layer increase fracture risk. The study involved more than 1,000 participants in the Framingham Study who were examined over a period of 3 years. Researchers used high resolution scanning, allowing them to detect cortical bone weakness – which cannot be measured with standard bone density testing – in older adults with diabetes.
They discovered that seniors with type 2 diabetes have a 40 to 50 percent higher risk of hip fracture compared to those without diabetes. Hip fractures are considered the most serious type of fracture related to bone weakness. To improve bone health in a diabetes epidemic and an aging population, a better understanding of all factors that affect bone strength is necessary, according to researchers.