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Type 1 Diabetes Linked to Increased Fractures

Aug 14, 2015

Lifelong condition may join list of various medical ailments for which type 1 patients are at an increased risk…

A population-based cohort study published using data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) was evaluated comparing records from 303,394 type 1 diabetes patients aged 0-89 years old with 303,872 random controls without type 1 diabetes.


A growing amount of recent evidence has suggested type 1 diabetes may lead to impaired bone health and a fragile skeleton—something that increases a patient’s risk of fractures. While the exact mechanism behind this impaired bone health is unknown, this study sought to show evidence of an increased risk of fracture in type 1 diabetes patients.

Researchers developed hazards ratios for a median age of 34 years and showed the risk of fracture was highest in type 1 diabetes patients of men ages 60-69 (HR 2.18) and women ages 40-49 (HR 2.03). Secondary analyses of hip fracture incidences were highest of all types of fracture.

The authors concluded that the increased risk of fracture existed from childhood and across the lifespan. Type 1 diabetes patients sustained a disproportionately greater number of lower extremity fractures.

This study sheds an important and ongoing health concern for type 1 diabetes patients. These health implications are especially important considering the increasing prevalence of type 1 diabetes and the morbidity and mortality risk associated with hip fractures.

The next steps of research may include finding reason for impaired bone health in these patients and searching for ways to better prevent fractures.

Practice Pearls:

  • Researchers sought to find evidence of increased risk of fractures in type 1 diabetes patients by comparing them to similar patients without type 1 diabetes.
  • In comparison, type 1 diabetes patients had higher fracture incidences, disproportionately high lower extremity fractures, and highest incidences of hip fractures.
  • More research needs done to explore the mechanism behind impaired bone health and preventative measures in type 1 diabetes patients.

Weber, David R., Kevin Haynes, Mary B. Leonard, et al. “Type 1 Diabetes Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Fracture Across the Life Span: A Population-Based Cohort Study Using The Health Improvement Network (THIN).” Diabetes Care Dia Care (2015): Dc150783. Web. 5 Aug. 2015.