Fracture prediction methods may accurately assess risk in patients with type 2 diabetes

Although many people think that bone fractures are more common among frail individuals, there has been an association between overweight patients with type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of experiencing these types of breaks.

However, until now, researchers had not investigated whether traditional methods of fracture risk prediction were able to accurately assess the odds of fractures in people with type 2 diabetes as they do for underweight or nutrient-deficient individuals.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that certain kinds of bone mineral density tests can effectively gauge a type 2 diabetic's risk of experiencing hip or non-spine fractures in the future.

"It is increasingly recognized that adults with type 2 diabetes, an estimated 17 percent of older adults in the United States, have a higher fracture rate. Preventive identification of adults at higher fracture risk is based on bone mineral density T (BMDT) scores, used alone or in the World Health Organization Fracture Risk Algorithm (FRAX) score," said the study's authors.

The researchers said there is a need for expanding these types of screenings among patients with type 2 diabetes now that there is evidence that the tests are useful for this group of individuals.

According to the study's results, 84 out of 770 female participants with type 2 diabetes had a hip fracture and 262 were treated for non-spine fractures during the 12-year follow-up period. Furthermore, 32 and 133 out of nearly 2,000 males with type 2 diabetes experienced hip or non-spine fractures, respectively.

The findings showed that subjects with type 2 diabetes had higher scores on BMDT and FRAX tests than those without the condition, on average, and that these results accurately reflected the ratio of diabetic to non-diabetic participants who experienced bone fractures over the course of the investigation.

While the sedentary lifestyles common among some people with type 2 diabetes may interfere with bone health, diabetics may also be more likely to experience fractures due to poor vision or hyperglycemia, which can cause falls, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) explains.

However, there are ways to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, which may also aid in diabetes management.

The organization states that proper nutrition - such as a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D from low-fat dairy products and leafy greens - can promote good bone health. Likewise, bone is living tissue that becomes stronger with exercise.

The NIAMS recommends that individuals engage in weight-bearing exercise that requires working against gravity if they want to reduce their risk of bone fractures. Examples of these types of exercises include walking, stair climbing and dancing.

Physical activity is also beneficial for diabetes management since it has been shown to help lower blood glucose levels.

Many doctors suggest that individuals with type 2 diabetes avoid smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. Abstaining from these activities is also important for sustaining bone health since people who partake in these behaviors are prone to early bone loss, the NIAMS notes.