The number of people in the UK and worldwide suffering from diabetes is increasing. More people now have diabetes than ever before in history. In the UK alone, it is estimated that the number of people with diabetes could reach five million people – more than one in 14 – if people don’t change their lifestyles. The number of premature deaths from diabetes is also increasing. The World Health Organization estimates that premature deaths from diabetes increased by 5% between 2000 and 2012.
Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and other diseases. In addition to these well-known complications caused by diabetes, the incidence of fractures in people with diabetes is also increasing. Why this happens is not fully understood, but a paper recently presented at the Endocrine Society’s ENDO 2021 conference has hopefully brought scientists a little closer to the answer.
It’s old bones in them
The incidence of diabetes is increasing worldwide and in addition to the complications that have been recognized, there is also an increased risk of bone fractures in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. While type 1 diabetics have a low bone mineral density and a six- or seven-fold increased risk of fractures, type 2 diabetics have a normal to high bone mineral density and an up to three-fold increased risk of fractures.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can share chronic hyperglycemia, but the abnormal changes in body functions are different. And it is these changes that can affect bone metabolism and bone strength. The bone is constantly being replaced – this is known as bone turnover. This is the process of resorption of old bone followed by replacement with new bone.
Sugar in the blood
In the study presented at ENDO 2021 – bone turnover in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus lower, A1c greater than 7% – the researchers analyzed the data of 217 men, 71 of whom had type 2 diabetes. The researchers used high performance liquid chromatography to measure A1c – a measure of your average blood sugar level over the past three months. They also used liquid chromatography / mass spectrometry to measure hormones and analyzed other bone turnover markers. The use of chromatography to analyze biomolecules is discussed in the article. Further development of effective glycan analysis.
The team used the A1c data to divide participants into one of four groups based on blood sugar levels. They found that participants in the group with an A1c value greater than 7% had lower bone turnover markers than in the other groups. The authors concluded that men with type 2 diabetes and an A1c value greater than 7% had decreased bone turnover, regardless of whether they were taking medication or not.