Diabetes & Fracture Risk in Seniors

Researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research in Boston think they may have discovered why seniors with type 2 diabetes appear to be at an increased risk for fractures. Fractures in the older population, especially those with osteoporosis (loss of bone density), can lead to disability, decreased quality of life, high health care costs, and even death.

During the study, the researchers used medical scans to assess more than 1,000 patients over a three-year period. The results indicated that older adults with type 2 diabetes had bone weakness that could contribute to fracture risk. This weakness is not able to be measured by typical bone density testing.

In the study, participants with type 2 diabetes had a 40 to 50 percent increased risk of hip fracture. This was true even in participants with normal or higher bone density than peers without type 2 diabetes. The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Samelson, the study’s author, the findings could help contribute to new approaches that can improve prevention and treatment of fractures due to osteoporosis. Dr. Samelson also mentioned that fractures in older adults is a public health problem that is likely to increase with the aging population and growing diabetes rates.

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