Meds for type 2 may be a key reason diabetics are more fracture-prone

Once you reach a certain age, the last thing you want to do is break a bone!

Frighteningly, that’s at the top of the list as to why seniors land in a nursing home.

If you have type 2 diabetes, however, it turns out that the chances of suffering a bad break are even higher.

But why?

Experts have been fishing around for answers to that question for some time. Now, a group of researchers are saying they’ve finally found it. Diabetics, they report, often have “skeletal deficits” that can make a fracture more likely to happen.

But that’s far from the whole story. The bigger picture looks like it’s something that’s been right in front of us all along.

Breaking bad
One thing you can count on is that when researchers have one of their eureka moments, it typically leads right down the path to drugs!

And that seems to be right where this group, out of Boston’s Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging, is going.

What they’ve found is that patients with type 2 may be at a 50 percent increased risk of suffering a broken hip due to having a deficiency in the dense layer of bone that helps prevent fractures.

This “deficit,” as they called it, wasn’t visible on the type of scan typically used to measure bone density. It was only discovered by a special, high-resolution scanning technique.

Hopefully, the group said, this finding will lead to new approaches for “prevention and treatment.” Well, we both know what that usually means!

But there’s something that makes this pat answer as to why diabetics are more prone to suffer a life-altering break so short-sighted — and that’s the fact that the very drugs taken to keep their blood sugar under control can also send their risk of a fracture off the charts!

Even the FDA issued a warning about it two years ago, related to the bestselling type 2 meds Invokana and Invokamet (the extended-release version). And that increased risk of fracture is something that can hit you as soon as three months after starting up on those drugs, the FDA said.

A year before that, researchers for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases were sounding the alarm about the connection between those two meds and breaking a bone — especially for women after menopause.

And that’s something the researchers don’t appear to have even taken into consideration in their new study.

Plus that, those aren’t the only drugs putting diabetics in danger. In fact, three years ago at the “Scientific Sessions” meeting of the American Diabetes Association, a special report was presented to specifically compare the fracture risk of different diabetes meds!

So obviously this isn’t some brand new discovery.

Two of the findings were about another class of type 2 meds called TZDs, which go under brand names such as Actos and Avandia, and a very old group called sulfonylureas, which include generic names like glipizide and glyburide.

The conclusion from that study? If you’re taking those drugs, “be more careful” to avoid a bone break.

Seriously? What are diabetics supposed to do — never get off the couch because it’s too dangerous to set foot outside?

And what about all those other diabetes drugs? Could they have similar risks?

Maybe — or maybe they’ll just make you more prone to “topple over” (due to blood sugar that drops too low, a.k.a. hypoglycemia) and you’ll end up breaking a bone that way!

As you read right here only yesterday, hypoglycemia is a major life-threatening risk for diabetics — especially seniors with type 2. And experts are now recommending that you have a talk with your doctor ASAP about cutting back, or in many cases, totally ditching diabetes meds.

Even if that isn’t an option for you, making certain lifestyle changes involving weight loss, increased exercise and dietary improvements have been found to be significant enough to eliminate type 2 altogether.

Certainly diabetes can be a tough nut to crack. But doing whatever you can to get off these drugs may just keep you from cracking something else — like your spine or hip!