Women in their 20’s to 30’s who have type 1 Diabetes should pay special attention to their bones, according to a recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care.
Researchers have known for some time that bone mineral density (BMD) tends to be lower in women with Type 1 diabetes compared to age-matched women without diabetes. This new study followed 63 participants (15-39 years old) for two years to determine just how much BMD changed over time for young diabetics.
BMD is an X-ray measurement of bone strength and an important indicator of a person’s risk for a bone fracture. A decrease in BMD is often associated with a greater chance of breaking a bone, especially when the bone density changes occur at the hip, spine or wrist bones.
The results of the study showed that type 1 diabetic women, 20 years old or older, had lower BMD compared to non-diabetic women of the same ages, and the decline in bone mass persisted for the length of the study (two years).
The researchers admit that their study included a relatively small number of participants who lived in a single community and so may not reflect all diabetic women in general. Nevertheless, the authors write that their findings “suggest that screening (for BMD) may be important in young women with type 1 diabetes, in addition to adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, and exercise.”
Young women with type 1 diabetes should discuss with their medical care provider about checking and maintaining good bone health during their 20’s and subsequent decades.
Mastrandrea, L. D., et al., 2008. “Young Women with Type 1 Diabetes Have Lower Bone Minderal Density That Persists Over Time,” Diabetes Care on line prepublication.
Diabetes Australia-NSW website article, 2008. “Low Bone Density in Women with Type 1 Diabetes.”
NIAMS, 2006. “What people with diabetes need to know about osteoporosis,” http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Conditions_Behaviors/diabetes.asp