In children, the bone mineral content, height, weight and IGF1 were measured and comparisons were made with healthier children.
Bones are the strongest part of our body and the healthier they are, the more fit we remain. For children with Type-1 diabetes though, weak bones – low bone mineral density – makes then more prone to fractures, say diabetologists.
“Children with diabetes have shorter and slender bones and this effect is more pronounced with longer duration of diabetes. Small and slender bones in diabetic children may increase risk of fractures in future,” says Dr Anuradha Khadilkar, who examined 170 children with diabetes in the six to 16 age bracket at the Hirabai Cowasji Jehangir Medical Research Institute, Jehangir hospital in Pune, to assess their bone health for the last two years.
Bone health parameters using Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) or a bone densitometer, serum insulin like growth factor (IGF1), was also measured to assess growth in these children as growth and bones are both affected in children with diabetes. In children, the bone mineral content (the amount of calcium in bone), height, weight and IGF1 were measured and comparisons were made with healthier children. Diabetic children were shorter than healthy children.
“We have reported for the first time that Indian children with diabetes have short and slender bones. Our study had important implications, we had to keep in mind growth and bone health of children while managing their diabetes,” adds Khadilkar, whose research, along with Dr Vaman Khadilkar and others, was published in the special issue of `Bone and Diabetes’ in April. The researchers collaborated with Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester, UK for the study ‘Bone status of Indian children and adolescents with type-1 diabetes mellitus’. They will now assess what interventions will prove useful.
“Since muscles and bones are closely linked in terms of their functions, it is recommended that the diagnostic evaluation of bone parameters should always include an assessment of the musculature. Thus we analysed the lean mass in diabetic children. However, the lean body mass measured by DXA is a surrogate for the muscle mass. Using the Crabtree et al model, we have demonstrated that the lean body mass was not affected in these children,” says Khadilkar.