Type 2 diabetes has long been associated with an increased risk of health conditions like stroke, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, vision deterioration, and premature mortality. But new research suggests that individuals with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop spinal fractures without obvious symptoms.
The researchers from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands sought to focus on the vertebral fractures aka compression fractures that occur when bones in the spine weaken and crumple, especially in the lower back. Such fractures are caused by osteoporosis or injuries and might have few symptoms. They can also cause issues like reduced height or severe chronic pain.
The study included data from 15 previous pieces of research involving 852,702 men and women. Their findings suggested that individuals with type 2 diabetes were more likely than others to suffer from vertebral fractures. They also reported that people with both diabetes and fractures were more than two times likely than others to get broken bones elsewhere in the body.
“Currently, there are no specific guidelines for the assessment of fracture risk or treatment of osteoporosis in individuals with type 2 diabetes,” said the study’s lead author Fjorda Koromani. “Based on our findings, we suggest that individuals with type 2 diabetes should be systematically assessed for the presence of vertebral fractures.”
The study highlights the fact that when diabetics get vertebral fractures, they should get treated for osteoporosis to prevent future broken bones. Moreover, the researchers also note that diabetics are also at a higher risk of fractures of the hip in particular.
Diabetic individuals in the study who didn’t report vertebral fractures were still at 94% higher risk of broken bones than those who weren’t diabetic. Also, individuals with diabetes and vertebral fractures were more likely to die prematurely and the risk reported to be higher among heavier individuals, especially obese men.
Drawbacks of the study:
- The smaller studies included in the review failed to examine in detail how the risk of broken bones or premature death varied based on one’s body mass.
- The lack of data on what type of treatment diabetics used, making it nearly impossible to find out if diabetes medications played a role in the outcomes.
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