New research has uncovered a link between two common ailments faced by elderly individuals here: Diabetes and Broken Bones. A new study suggests that the disease may play a larger role in contributing to severe fractures than previously suspected. If so, could the reverse also be true? Could proper diabetes management prevent fractures?
The Many Complications of Diabetes
Roughly 29 million people in The US have Diabetes. Conservative estimates suggest that at least 8 million of them don’t know it. While the diabetes can strike people of any age, it is most common in senior citizens and elderly individuals. Roughly 25% (one quarter) of seniors 65 and older have diabetes.
Proper diabetes management is essential to maintain long-term health and increase life expectancy. Thankfully, as a standalone disease, diabetes can often be successfully managed through diet, exercise, and insulin therapy.
Still, diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in The United States. (In 2015, over 79,000 death certificates listed diabetes as the underlying cause of death.) Some of those complications from diabetes are less obvious than others.
Broken Bones and The Elderly
One of the most fearful (and deadly) injuries an elderly individual can face is a broken bone. Fractures in elderly patients often fail to heal correctly, can lead to re-hospitalization, and contribute to a rapid decline in health. One of the most common causes of fractures are falls. (87% of all fractures seen in elderly patients 65 and older result from falls.)
While the fall may have precipitated the injury, fractures may be caused by brittle bones. Seniors lose bone mass as they age—especially women. This can make bones prone to fracture and decrease their natural ability to heal.
The Link Between the Two
A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found older adults with Type-2 diabetes had weaker bones that people of a similar age without diabetes. Using high-resolution scans researchers were able to measure the layers of cortical bone. That’s the dense, hard surface of bones that provides strength and protects the softer material inside. They found diabetics had measurably thinner layers of this hard bone making their limbs more susceptible to fracture.
Proper Diabetes Management Prevents Further Complications
The obvious conclusion is that proper diabetes management can help keep bones healthier. Healthy bones means fewer fractures. Fewer fractures means fewer health complications. But if you’ve been a family caregiver for any length of time, you know how difficult it can be to get your loved one to take care of themselves.
Second Family Home Care’s compassionate caregivers can help. We offer companionship and other non-medical services to elderly individuals in Texas (the greater Dallas area, Plano, Frisco, Allen, and McKinney). These in-home services include:
- Medication reminders
- Meal prep
- Appointment transportation
- Even prescription runs to nearby pharmacies
All of which can help your loved one with successful diabetes management.
To learn more about the services we offer, give us a call at (972) 347-0700 or schedule your complimentary in-home consultation today.