Diabetes can affect your bone health. Elevated sugar level in the blood reduces the bone mineral density, which significantly increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in diabetics. The risks of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures increase with age. It is more common in elderly diabetics.
Low bone mineral density in diabetics is primarily attributed to excess calcium excretion, a condition known as hypercalciuria. It is more common in people with poorly controlled diabetes. Compared with type 2 diabetes patients, people with type 1 diabetes have lower bone density and higher risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. Researchers speculate that an autoimmune process that affects the activities of osteoblasts, the cells that form bones, is associated with increased bone mineral loss in type 1 diabetes patients. In addition, type 1 diabetes patients have low levels of the hormone essential for maintaining healthy bones.
Studies suggest that improved glucose control can cause significant improvement in the bone mineral density. Moreover, adopting appropriate lifestyle changes to improve the health of the bone can prevent osteoporotic fractures.
Tips to Prevent Bone Complications in Diabetics
Consume Calcium Rich Foods and Supplements
Bone complications in diabetics can be prevented through nutritional intervention. Calcium is accepted as an effective anti-osteoporosis therapy. The recommended daily calcium dosage for diabetics is same as that for non-diabetic osteoporosis patients. Consuming 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium daily is recommended for maintaining the normal density of the bone. Dairy calcium is considered the best source of this essential mineral.
Your body can easily absorb calcium from milk and dairy products. Leafy green vegetables contain moderate amount of calcium. You can even improve the calcium reserve in your bones by consuming cereals and beverages fortified with calcium. When diet alone is not sufficient for meeting your daily calcium requirement, calcium supplements can help to prevent calcium deficiency. Calcium supplements are available in the form of calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, calcium lactate and calcium citrate.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D improves calcium absorption. To reduce the risk of fractures, you should get at least 400 to 800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily. According to the latest Institute of Medicine guidelines, up to 4000 IU of vitamin D can be consumed daily. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. Exposing the skin to sunlight triggers vitamin D synthesis.
Insufficient exposure to sunlight increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. You can get only a small amount of vitamin D from your diet. Fatty fish and beverages, dairy products and cereals fortified with vitamin D are common sources of dietary vitamin D. Appropriate amount of vitamin D are combined with calcium in supplements.
Low Glycemic Diet
Replacing foods with higher sugar content with low glycemic index foods helps to prevent abnormal increase in the blood sugar level. Whole grains, most fruits and vegetables, legumes and low fat dairy are common components of a low glycemic diet.
Regular physical activities are essential for maintaining the normal modeling process of the bones. Exercises also help in glycemic control. By improving muscle coordination, workouts improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.
Take your Diabetes Medications
When lifestyle changes are not sufficient for keeping your blood sugar level under control, take your diabetes medications as directed by your doctor.