Bone health should be a priority for everyone living with diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes is often a wake-up call to live health-consciously. Diabetics learn about healthy diets, the need for exercise, and to take special care of their feet and eyes. But a critical area of vulnerability is often omitted from advice given to diabetics: people living with diabetes risk losing bone and muscle mass at a more rapid rate than average.

If you are a diabetic, the best way to reduce bone density loss – that is, bone weakness – is to maintain good control of your blood sugar. 

“But even if your blood sugar seems to be controlled, certain medication used to manage diabetes cause bone mass loss as such it is still wise to check your bone density every year or two just as you regularly have an eye check,” advises Motselisi Mosiana, founder and head of the Insure Bone Vitality Centre. 

Bone density is measured by a scan performed by a special low-intensity specialised X-ray. It is painless and quick.  

“Loss of bone density occurs gradually and silently until we break a bone. Like any other system within our body, the change in bone mass is unavoidable as we age. But we are generally unaware of the process, even when it is occurring at a more rapid rate than normal, especially in people living with diabetes ” Ms Mosiana explains. “The first sign may be a drastic one – a bone fracture that occurs during a minor fall. For anyone, especially an older person, this could be serious. But for a diabetic the process of healing could be especially complicated.” 

The good news is that a lot can be done to slow down the loss of bone mass even if you have diabetes. And, with some expert guidance to set you on the right track, much of this can be achieved by you in your own home. 

At Insure Bone Vitality Centre, each client that  undergoes a bone density scan will  receive health promotion that will ensure that they are able to make informed choices about their bone health. They will also receive a personalised bone health plan. The elements of the plan will differ from person to person but typically would include: 

  • General exercise options designed to help retain bone density and promote balance and flexibility.
  • Tailor-made exercises designed to strengthen key muscle groups that support the bone structure.
  • Dietary guidance and recommendations on specific supplements from our partners.
  • Guidance on adapting your environment to avoid falls and fractures.

“We work hand in hand with other health professionals in the interests of our clients. In fact, we have established a network of other healthcare professionals. Many factors influence bone and muscle health and a team approach certainly works best where underlying health conditions such as chronic kidney disease ,thyroid problems ,cancer  etc are playing a key role,” says Ms Mosiana. “Given the very large number of people with diabetes in our country we are eager to play a supporting role in managing this condition and helping diabetics enjoy mobility and independence in through the life span”.

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