A recent study published in Orthopedics Today found an increased fracture risk among people with diabetes. However, the precise reason why adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have a higher incidence of a fracture that results in a hospitalization is not clear.

Individuals who have type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of osteoporosis, notes Daniel Lorber, MD, director of endocrinology and associate director of the Lang Research Center at New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, NY. And having osteoporosis increases one's risk of a fracture.

Lorber also points out that individuals with type 2 tend to "have denser bones than non-diabetics, and a higher fracture rate at least of the hip and the wrist."

But that doesn't mean there are crutches and an air cast in your future. Here are seven ways to stay fracture free:

1. Keep your blood sugar in the normal range. It's clear that people with type 1 or type 2 who are not in good control tend to have more fractures, and having good blood sugar control can help with bone health, Lorber says.

2. Consider getting screened for osteoporosis. "We recommend it for post-menopausal women," says Ronan Factora, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "But if you have ever had a fragility fracture, such as a broken wrist, you should talk with your doctor about the possibility of osteoporosis."

3. Have your vitamin D level tested. Get vitamin D supplements as needed.

4. If you have diabetic neuropathy, be aware that your risk for a fracture is higher than average. "When you have this condition, you tend to be clumsier," Lorber says. This is because the nerves that are responsible for sensation in the feet aren't working right and it's much easier to take a fall. And when you take a fall, your risk of a fracture increases.

5. Switch on the lights. If you have issues with neuropathy, keep lights on at night so you will be able to see clearly where you are walking. "If you can't feel where your foot is, adequate light will help you see where you are going," Lorber says.

6. Get aerobic exercise as well as strength training. "Both of these together decreases the risk of falls and fractures," says Lorba. Load-bearing exercise helps to increase bone density.

7. Certain medications may be associated with a greater risk of fracture. Speak with your doctor about the medications you take and whether you should be switched to an alternative medication.

Daniel Lorber, MD. FACP, CDE, and Ronan Factora, MD, reviewed this article.




"Researchers find increased fracture risk in adults with diabetes." 4 January 2013. Orthopedics Today.

"Exercise improves bone health." August 2012. Diabetes Forecast.

"Type 2 diabetes and bone fracture risk." October 2011. Diabetes Forecast.