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Changes in bone mineral density (BMD) start earlier for women with type 1 diabetes. In fact, dramatic declines are seen in the postteenage years. Although type 1 diabetes has been linked with decreases in BMD, the relationship between the disease course and bone changes leading to osteoporosis remains unclear.
To further investigate the link between diabetes and osteoporosis, the researchers compared the BMD in young women with type 1 diabetes with that of normal nondiabetic patients. The research criteria included any association between BMD and diabetes duration, markers of bone metabolism, and other factors. For the study, the BMD was measured in 39 teenage girls, 33 postteenage women with diabetes, and 91 women in the same age group who did not have diabetes.
The findings, published in Diabetes Care (August 2003), showed that diabetic women >20 years of age had significantly lower BMD values for the hips and lateral spine, compared with controls.There was not a significant difference in values for those under 20 years of age, and no difference was noted at the anterior ?posterior spine, wrist, or whole body. The researchers believe that the study results may help explain the high rate of hip fractures in postmenopausal diabetic women.