ObjectiveWomen with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have a higher risk of fractures despite increased bone mineral density (BMD) as compared to women without diabetes. We hypothesized that bone strength is diminished in women with T2DM after accounting for lean body mass, which may contribute to their increased fracture risk.
MethodsParticipants from Women's Health Initiative Observational Study were included in this cross-sectional study. These analyses include 3 groups of women: 1) T2DM women on diet or oral hypoglycemic agents (n=299); 2) T2DM women on insulin therapy (with or without oral agents) (n=128); and 3) Non-diabetic control women (n=5497). Hip structural analyses were done using the validated Beck's method on hip scans from dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). We compared BMD and section modulus (bending strength) at the narrow neck with and without correcting for total body DXA lean body mass.
ResultsWomen in all three groups were of similar ages (63.7, 64.6 and 64.2 years, respectively) and heights, but those with T2DM were heavier, with greater lean body weight vs controls (P<.001). In both diabetic groups, absolute BMD and section modulus were higher compared with controls. However, after adjusting for total lean body weight, diabetic women on insulin had significantly lower BMD and section modulus.
ConclusionAdjusted for lean body weight, the BMD and bending strength in the femoral neck are significantly lower in insulin-treated diabetic women vs controls. This may represent altered adaptation of bone modeling and explain the higher fracture risk in patients with T2DM.