Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy and bone metabolism in Type 1 diabetes

Hansen CS1Theilade S1Lajer M1Hansen TW1Rossing P1,2,3.

Diabet Med. 2018 Jul 12. doi: 10.1111/dme.13777. [Epub ahead of print]




To investigate the association between cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy and bone metabolism in people with Type 1 diabetes.


We assessed cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in 329 people with Type 1 diabetes according to heart rate response to deep breathing, to standing and to the Valsalva manoeuvre, and 2-min resting heart rate. More than one pathological non-resting test was defined as cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy. Bone mineral density of the femoral neck (BMDfn) was assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Serum parathyroid hormone levels and other bone markers were measured.


The mean (sd) age of the participants was 55.6 (9.4) years, 52% were men, and the mean (sd) diabetes duration was 40 (8.9) years, HbA1c 62 (9) mmol/mol and estimated GFR 78 (26) ml/min/1.73m2 . In all, 36% had cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy. Participants with cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy had 4.2% (95% CI -8.0 to -0.2; P=0.038) lower BMDfn and 33.6% (95% CI 14.3 to 53.8; P=0.0002) higher parathyroid hormone levels compared with participants without cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in adjusted models. Higher resting heart rate remained associated with higher parathyroid hormone level and lower BMDfn after additional adjustment for eGFR (P<0.0001 and P = 0.042, respectively).


The presence of cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy was associated with reduced BMDfn and increased levels of parathyroid hormone. Kidney function may either confound or mediate these findings. Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy could be associated with increased risk of osteoporosis in Type 1 diabetes. Whether cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy directly affects bone metabolism detrimentally or if this association is mediated via decreased kidney function should be investigated further.


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