The Link Between Diabetes and Osteoporosis

Posted on November 29th, 2021 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects your body’s process of turning food into energy. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin, a substance released by your pancreas to help maintain proper blood sugar levels. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough or cannot use the insulin produced properly to manage your blood sugar levels. 

Over time, diabetes can make you vulnerable to other health conditions, especially if your health is not properly managed and cared for the way it needs, such as osteoporosis.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones become weak and brittle due to a loss of bone density. As the bone mass and strength decrease, they become more susceptible to fractures and breaks. Since bone is considered living tissue, it continuously is broken down and replaced, but with osteoporosis, the creation of new bone can not keep up with the loss of old bone. 

Osteoporosis can be a silent disease, as there are typically no symptoms in the early stages, and it is often not diagnosed until a bone fracture or break. Some signs of osteoporosis include: 

  • Severe back pain due to a fractured or collapsed vertebrae
  • Stooped or hunched posture
  • Loss of height over time
  • Bones that break or injure much more easily than normal

How are Diabetes and Osteoporosis Linked?

Individuals with diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, are more likely to develop osteoporosis in their lifetime as they often have poorer bone density and quality. This is because people with diabetes tend to have lower vitamin D levels, and vitamin D is an important nutrient that keeps bones strong by helping them absorb calcium. Also, elevated glucose or blood sugar levels can lead to chronic inflammation, which directly impacts bone strength. As a result, those with diabetes are at a much higher risk of bone fractures and breaks. 

How to Care For Your Bones With Diabetes

Some habit changes can help promote better bone health if you’re living with diabetes. These lifestyle changes that can help keep your bones strong include: 

  • Staying physically active to assist in keeping your blood sugar levels maintained and keep bones strong. 
  • Eating well-balanced and nutritious meals while avoiding excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates, sugar, and caffeine as they can inhibit calcium absorption. 
  • Maintaining good control of your blood sugar levels to avoid complications such as vision loss, dizziness, hypoglycemia, and nerve damage which can leave you more vulnerable to falls. 
  • Quitting tobacco use and limiting alcohol consumption can help increase calcium absorption and promote good bone density. 
  • Speaking with your endocrinologist, orthopedist, and primary care physician about how best to manage your diabetes and protect your bones.  

For exceptional orthopaedic care, contact Orthopaedic Specialty Group!

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you struggle with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Give the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialty Group a call at (203) 337-2600, and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.