Diabetes Linked To Bone Health

shutterstock_147423134Diabetes has affected millions of people all over the world and can cause a number of serious health complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and even amputations of lower extremities. But researchers have discovered that diabetes may also be linked to another condition that may also lead to grave complications- bone health.

Researchers from the University of Delaware have found out that diabetic patients also have an increase in fracture risk in clinical trials. “Bone fractures can be life threatening — nearly one in six hip fracture patients dies within a year of injury,” according to Liyun Wang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware. Because of this, Wang and her colleagues decided to test how effective is physical exercise among diabetic patients since it can be a means to improve bone properties and reduce fracture risk among non-diabetics.

Wang initially explained that bone cells or osteocytes are important to the maintenance of tissue quality and mechanical integrity of the bone. They are the primary mechanosensing cells, adapting to processes brought about by mechanical cues such as exercise.

“We suspected that the response of diabetic bone to mechanical loading would be compromised due to impaired mechanosensing of osteocytes under hyperglycemic, or high blood sugar, conditions,” Wang added.

The study involved diabetic mice and healthy controls made to undergo exercise and their bone formation monitored. The results showed that exercised-induced bone formation was maintained in mildly diabetic mice at around the similar levels as non-diabetic controls. But the results showed that the positive effects of exercise was nearly negated in severely diabetic mice. The researchers discovered that hyperglycemia diminished the sensitivity of osteocytes to mechanical stimulation such as what exercise offers. This also suppressed the cells’ secretion of proteins and signaling molecules that aid in building stronger bones.

Wang stated, ” Our work demonstrates that diabetic bone can respond to exercise when the hyperglycemia is not severe, which suggests that mechanical interventions may be useful to improve bone health and reduce fracture risk in mildly affected diabetic patients.”

“Coming at it from the other side, our results stress the importance of maintaining good control of blood sugar in diabetic patients so that exercise can do its work in maintaining bone health,” she further added.

The findings of the study are reported in the July 13 issue of the online journal Bone.

Source: University of Delaware. (2015, August 21). Diabetes linked to bone health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150821141759.htm

 

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