Bone and Joint Conditions Associated with Diabetes

Diabetes and bone problems

Diabetes and bone problems By Dr. Praharsha

Diabetes is a silently damaging disease as it can lead to many serious health issues such as heart disease, kidney disease and nerve disease. These conditions can go hand in hand with diabetes. You may not be aware of the fact that diabetes can also lead to increased risk of bone and joint conditions. The risk increases manifolds in people who have arterial disease, obesity and diabetic neuropathy. Let us try to understand different types of joint and bone conditions along with their symptoms. Diabetes and bone problems.

What is neuropathic arthropathy?

Nerve damage is the common complication of diabetes. A joint deteriorates due to this problem. This is one of the commonest complications of diabetes. The condition is best known as neuropathic arthropathy or Charcot joint. It primarily affects the feet.

What are the symptoms?

If you have this condition, you may experience loss of sensation or tingling sensation in the affected joints. You may also have numbness and the affected area might feel like red and swollen, warm and also become deformed or unstable. Though the joint appears to be bad in appearance, you may not feel severe pain.

How is it treated?

When this condition comes to your notice early, once your Orthopedic doctor diagnoses it, it is possible to slow it down. You can slow the progression of this condition by using orthotic supports and by limiting weight-bearing activities. Protecting the affected joints and surrounding structures can help.

What is Diabetic hand syndrome?

Diabetic cheiroarthropathy or diabetic hand syndrome is a condition that restricts or limits joint mobility. It mostly affects the small joints of the hands. It causes stiffness of the joints.

Initially hands joints come into its fold – and then, slowly shoulder, feet and ankles’ joints get effected. Hands skin can become thick and waxy with the restricted finger movement. The cause of limited joint mobility is not known. However, people with diabetes are more prone to this condition – especially those who have had diabetes for a long time.

What are the symptoms?

You may have restricted fingers movement. Therefore, you may not be able to extend your fingers fully. Even pressing your palms together flat becomes difficult.

What is the treatment for this condition?

Management of diabetes is very important to control this condition. In addition, physical therapy helps in slowing down the progression of this condition. Many people may not able to regain complete movement of their fingers.

What is Osteoporosis?

In osteoporosis bones become weak and lose strength. The causes of weak and brittle or fragile bones can be many including vitamin D deficiency, calcium deficiency, kidney and liver problems. Diabetes is also one of the risk factors for osteoporosis. People with type 1 diabetes are at increased risk of osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms?

Many people who develop this bone condition don’t have any symptoms in the beginning. The only way by which the condition comes to limelight is after bones get fractured. However, in some advanced stages of the disease some people experience loss of height, broken bone and stooped posture.

How is it treated?

Knowing the underlying cause is important for prompt and effective treatment of osteoporosis. For instance, hormonal imbalances in women and men and kidney disease can also cause osteoporosis. However, low calcium levels and vitamin D deficiency are the main causes. Therefore, the best way to manage osteoporosis is taking supplements, making dietary changes, doing weight-baring exercises, walking and eating diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. In more chronic and severe cases, doctors prescribe supplements and medications, injections to prevent further bone loss and increase bone mass. Diabetes and bone problems go hand in hand – therefore, even in the absence of symptoms, you should always get your bone health checked.

To be continued in the next post…