Diabetes and bone health: latest evidence and clinical implications

Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2017 Mar;9(3):67-74. doi: 10.1177/1759720X16687480. Epub 2017 Jan 24.


As the prevalence of diabetes is increasing worldwide, research on some of the lesser-known effects, including impaired bone health, are gaining a lot of attention. The two most common forms of diabetes are type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). These two differ in their physiology, with T1DM stemming from an inability to produce insulin, and T2DM involving an insufficient response to the insulin that is produced. This review aims to highlight the most current information regarding diabetes as it relates to bone health. It looks at biochemical changes that characterize diabetic bone; notably increased adiposity, altered bone metabolism, and variations in bone mineral density (BMD). Then several hypotheses are analyzed, concerning how these changes may be detrimental to the highly orchestrated processes that are involved in bone formation and turnover, and ultimately result in the distinguishing features of diabetic bone. The review proceeds by explaining the effects of antidiabetes medications on bone health, then highlighting several ways that diabetes can play a part in other clinical treatment outcomes. With diabetes negatively affecting bone health and creating other clinical problems, and its treatment options potentiating these effects, physicians should consider the use of anti-osteoporotic drugs to supplement standard anti-diabetes medications in patients suffering with diabetic bone loss.

Keywords: bone health; bone loss; bone turnover; diabetes; metabolism; type 1; type 2.

Publication types

  • Review