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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2016, Article ID 1615735, 11 pages
Review Article

Fracture Risk in Type 2 Diabetes: Current Perspectives and Gender Differences

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy

Received 9 June 2016; Revised 19 September 2016; Accepted 22 September 2016

Academic Editor: Małgorzata Kotula-Balak

Copyright © 2016 Giuseppina T. Russo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with an increased risk of osteoporotic fractures, resulting in disabilities and increased mortality. The pathophysiological mechanisms linking diabetes to osteoporosis have not been fully explained, but alterations in bone structure and quality are well described in diabetic subjects, likely due to a combination of different factors. Insulin deficiency and dysfunction, obesity and hyperinsulinemia, altered level of oestrogen, leptin, and adiponectin as well as diabetes-related complications, especially peripheral neuropathy, orthostatic hypotension, or reduced vision due to retinopathy may all be associated with an impairment in bone metabolism and with the increased risk of fractures. Finally, medications commonly used in the treatment of T2DM may have an impact on bone metabolism and on fracture risk, particularly in postmenopausal women. When considering the impact of hypoglycaemic drugs on bone, it is important to balance their potential direct effects on bone quality with the risk of falling-related fractures due to the associated hypoglycaemic risk. In this review, experimental and clinical evidence connecting bone metabolism and fracture risk to T2DM is discussed, with particular emphasis on hypoglycaemic treatments and gender-specific implications.