How does diabetes relate to your bone health?

Diabetes affects your body in countless ways, and its impact on your bones is no exception. In particular, diabetes can increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and brittle. Fortunately, by working carefully with your physician to manage your diabetes, you can mitigate some of its effects on your bone health. Here is what you need to know.

Types of diabetes
There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas. The pancreas will cease to produce insulin. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin via injections or an insulin pump to replace what the body is not producing.

  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to using the insulin the pancreas has produced to regulate blood glucose levels. The pancreas also starts to produce inadequate amounts of insulin. Some people with type 2 diabetes take insulin and other medications, while others manage their condition with diet and exercise.

Both forms of diabetes can affect your bone health and increase your risk of osteoporosis, but they are thought to do so in different ways.

Type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis
Low bone density is common with people in type 1 diabetes, but doctors are unsure why the connection exists. It is possible that insulin helps to protect bone health, and when the body does not produce any, bones lose their mass.

People who get type 1 diabetes when they are young, when their bones are still developing, may be especially prone to osteoporosis. Also, substances produced by different cells called cytokines that are common in people with type 1 diabetes are also linked to the development of osteoporosis.

Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis
Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, which can actually have a protective effect on bones. However, many people with type 2 diabetes also have a sedentary lifestyle, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Although the link between type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis is looser, doctors believe that the disease does negatively impact the bones.

Being proactive about managing diabetes and bone health will reduce your risk of complications. Let the specialists at MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas help you develop an effective treatment plan for your diabetes and monitor the health of your bones. Find out more about all of our services at our hospital or ask for a referral to one of our specialists by calling (702) 962-5021.