Diabetes can affect bone density

October 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Medical Research & Studies


Diabetics can often experience low bone density, which is associated with increased risk of bone fractures and delayed fracture repair. A new study at Boston University School of Medicine suggests that the inflammatory molecule TNF-α may be a contributory factor.

This is an important breakthrough as diabetes affects at least 171 million people worldwide, and it is believed that figure will double by 2030. Long-term complications of diabetes are an expensive health budget item as they can include cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, retinal damage that may lead to blindness, nerve damage, and blood vessel damage, which may cause erectile dysfunction and poor wound healing.

Anything that helps identify a contributory factor that can lead to its elimination is a step forward and in the study it was observed that there were increased levels of inflammatory molecules, including TNF-α , during fracture healing in diabetic conditions. They saw a rapid loss of cartilage in the healing bones, which was due to increased numbers of osteoclasts, cells that remove bone and cartilage, and leave the bone vulnerable to breakage.

Knowing what reduces the healing of the bone is an important factor in helping to prevent it, perhaps by stimulating action by the osteoblasts, the cells that help build bone and which are dependent on progesterone for growth.