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More Fractures, Less Bone Density In Premenopausal Women with Diabetes

Early Osteoporosis Screening Recommended for Women with Type 1

(Alexandria, VA) – Premenopausal women who have type 1 diabetes should strongly consider preventive screening for osteoporosis, the researchers of a new study on bone density conclude in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

The study found that these women exhibited lower bone density and more fractures than women who did not have diabetes, even though those with diabetes were more likely to take bone-active osteoporosis medications and vitamin D supplements. Both groups of women exercised a similar number of hours per week.

Researchers found one-third of premenopausal women (ages 35-55) with type 1 diabetes reported having a fracture after age 20, compared to less than a quarter of those who did not have diabetes. Women with type 1 diabetes also exhibited substantially lower bone density in the hip, heel bone and overall.

Lead researcher Elsa Strotmeyer, PhD, said it’s still unclear why type 1 diabetes affects bone density, however, “it is also likely that even subclinical changes in the cardiovascular system, kidney or nervous system, which are often associated with a longer duration of disease, are influencing bone,” she said.

The researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Epidemiology in the Graduate School of Public Health and Department of Health Promotion and Development in the School of Nursing, concluded that early osteoporosis screening and fracture prevention efforts should be considered for women with type 1 diabetes prior to menopause.