Background: Diabetes mellitus is a multi-organ disorder affecting many types of connective tissues, including bone and cartilage. Certain skeletal changes are more prevalent in diabetic patients than in non-diabetic individuals. A possible association of diabetes mellitus and lumbar spinal stenosis has been raised.
Objectives: To compare the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in patients with spinal stenosis, degenerative disk disease or osteoporotic vertebral fractures.
Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed of 395 consecutive patients diagnosed with spinal stenosis, degenerative disk disease or osteoporotic vertebral fractures. All the patients were examined by one senior author in the outpatient orthopedic clinic of a large general hospital between June 2004 and January 2006 and diagnosed as having lumbar spinal stenosis (n=225), degenerative disk disease (n=124), or osteoporotic vertebral fractures (n=46).
Results: The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the three groups (spinal stenosis, osteoporotic fracture, degenerative disk disease) was 28%, 6.5% and 12.1%, respectively, revealing a significantly higher prevalence in the spinal stenosis group compared with the others (P=0.001). The higher prevalence of diabetes in the stenotic patients was unrelated to the presence of degenerative spondylolisthesis.
Conclusions: There is an association between diabetes and lumbar spinal stenosis. Diabetes mellitus may be a predisposing factor for the development of lumbar spinal stenosis.