Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 73, Issue 6, pp 515–519 | Cite as

Diabetes Mellitus: Does it Affect Bone?



Both diabetes and fractures affect a large proportion of older adults. Recent cohort studies indicate that diabetes itself is associated with increased risk of fracture of the hip, proximal humerus, and foot. Observational studies and animal models suggest that decreased bone strength in diabetes may contribute to fracture risk but this remains a controversial issue. Type 1 diabetes is associated with modest reductions in bone mineral density (BMD) but type 2 diabetes is often characterized by elevated BMD. This paradox of higher BMD but increased fracture risk in type 2 diabetes may be explained by a combination of more frequent falls and poorer bone quality. Diabetes can impact bone through multiple pathways, some with contradictory effects, including obesity, changes in insulin levels, higher concentrations of advanced glycation end products in collagen, hypercalciuria associated with glycosuria, reduced renal function, lower insulin-like growth factor-I, microangiopathy, and inflammation. A better understanding of how diabetes metabolism and treatments affect bone would improve fracture prevention efforts in older diabetic adults.


Diabetes mellitus Fracture Bone mineral density 


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© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA USA

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