Mounting evidence suggests type 2 diabetes is an important risk factor for bone fractures

Individuals with type 2 diabetes may be significantly more likely to develop osteoporosis and experience bone fractures at some point in their lives than those who do not have the condition, according to a new study.

Investigators from the Univeristy of Waterloo in Ontario reported at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research that their findings may necessitate a revision of a common tool used to diagnose patients’ fracture risk. Known as FRAX, the World Health Organization’s assessment takes into account things like age, sex, tobacco use and other factors, but not currently type 2 diabetes.

For the study, the team estimated the fracture risk of close to 40,000 individuals both with and without diabetes. Before accounting for the metabolic condition, both sets of participants had roughly the same odds of experiencing a fracture. However, when the team factored in the presence of diabetes, they found that the affected individuals were 61 percent more likely to suffer a break.

Given the fact that the risk factors assessed by FRAX, the most widely used tool to determine a person’s chances of experiencing a fracture, failed to identify many people who were likely to experience a break, the researchers said the criteria should be revised. They wrote in their report that the World Health Organization should consider including diabetes as a recognized risk factor in future iterations of the guidelines.

This is not the first study to show that type 2 diabetes increases a person’s fracture risk. Several investigations published in the journal Diabetes have shown a link between the two conditions. The present findings suggest that doctors should pay more attention to the bone health of their diabetic patients.