The risk of older women with type 2 diabetes experiencing fractures has been highlighted in a new US study.
Scientists from Harvard Medical School say the findings present an opportunity to better identify risk factors for fractures, as well as for clinicians to make early interventions.
The risk of fractures in older women with type 2 diabetes doubles in the short-term compared to those without diabetes, according to the research. The risk between groups tended to even out over a decade, however.
Bone mineral density tends to be normal or slightly higher in people with type 2 diabetes, but the risk of fracturing a bone increases in age, particularly in those who have the condition.
The research team were able to gather a large amount of people with type 2 diabetes by using the Framingham Original and Offspring Cohorts, a study of more than 5,000 spouses and their offspring.
The database used just over 2,000 women and 1,130 men, aged on average about 67, and who had a baseline osteoporosis study examination around 1990. They then looked at how many of those people had type 2 diabetes and of that number, how many fractures had been reported nine years later.
Speaking to Endocrine Today, lead author Elizabeth Samelso, PhD and associate scientist at the Marcus Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said: “Typically, you need to follow people forward for a long period of time to accrue enough fractures to do your study. But because of the incredible size and characterisation of the Framingham cohorts, we were able to look at fracture risks over one year and two years as well as over 10 years.
“What we found was that having diabetes increased the short-term risk of fracture over one to two years, whereas over the 10 years – when you look out over the long term – the increased risk in diabetics was not significant.”
The researchers concluded that “clinical intervention may be particularly effective for fracture reduction in older adults with type 2 diabetes”.
The findings were unveiled at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 28th Annual Congress, held this week in Los Angeles.

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