Diabetes has been linked to so many complications they can seem hard to count. Now, it looks like risk of broken bones can be added to the list.
A recent study showed that patients diagnosed with diabetes may have an increased risk for fractures. This risk may be even higher among diabetes patients treated with insulin.
However, researchers did not find a significant link between undiagnosed diabetes and fracture risk.
The study was conducted by Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, of Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues. Results showed fracture risk was higher in patients with diagnosed diabetes than in those without diabetes, with a hazard ratio of 1.74.
A hazard ratio explains how often an event happens in one group versus another. A hazard ratio of more than 1.0 means the event happens more in the first group than in the second. The higher the number, the more the event happens. Results also showed that diagnosed diabetes patients treated with insulin were at increased risk of fracture, with a hazard ratio of 1.87.
In addition, diabetes patients with an HbA1c of 8 percent or more had a higher risk of fracture than those with an HbA1c of less than 8 percent, with a hazard ratio of 1.63.
Insulin is a natural hormone that manages blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin or does not properly respond to insulin, which causes blood sugar levels to rise and increases the risk of health problems. HbA1c is a way to measure blood sugar levels over the past 3 months.
According to the authors, this study supports recommendations from the American Diabetes Association that call for the evaluation of fracture risk and strategies to prevent fracture in people with type 2 diabetes, especially those with poor blood sugar control.
The research included 15,140 participants.
The study was published December 17 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.