Risk of fracture in women with type 2 diabetes: the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Sep;91(9):3404-10. doi: 10.1210/jc.2006-0614. Epub 2006 Jun 27.


Context: Some but not all studies have shown higher rates of fracture in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes and determine whether risk varies by fracture site, ethnicity, and baseline bone density.

Design, setting, and participants: Women with clinically diagnosed type 2 diabetes at baseline in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Cohort, a prospective study of postmenopausal women (n = 93,676), were compared with women without diagnosed diabetes and risk of fracture overall and at specific sites determined.

Main outcome measures: All fractures and specific sites separately (hip/pelvis/upper leg; lower leg/ankle/knee; foot; upper arm/shoulder/elbow; lower arm/wrist/hand; spine/tailbone) were measured. Bone mineral density (BMD) in a subset also was measured.

Results: The overall risk of fracture after 7 yr of follow-up was higher in women with diabetes at baseline after controlling for multiple risk factors including frequency of falls [adjusted relative risk (RR) 1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11-1.30]. In a subsample of women with baseline BMD scores, women with diabetes had greater hip and spine BMD. The elevated fracture risk was found at multiple sites (hip/pelvis/upper leg; foot; spine/tailbone) among black women (RR 1.33, 95% CI 1.00-1.75) and women with increased baseline bone density (RR 1.26, 95% CI 0.96-1.66).

Conclusion: Women with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for fractures. This risk is also seen among black and non-Hispanic white women after adjustment for multiple risk factors including frequent falls and increased BMD (in a subset).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology