T1 and bone weakness/problems?

Somewhere along this T1 journey, I heard something about T1 and bones, but I can’t remember what it was. I guess it didn’t apply to us, so I didn’t pay that much attention.

My 13-year-old daughter is the T1, and we recently found out she needs a few surgeries to fix a hip problem. She tore cartilage off the bone, and in two other places, she has extra bone build-up. They have to sew the cartilage back on, then get rid of extra bone in those two places.

She has been dancing for 10 years, about four days a week. The torn catilage is a dance injury, and they believe she was born with a little extra bone in both places, but it built up because of her dancing. The orthopaedist said he has never seen either of these conditions on someone her age. A year ago September, she was complaining on and off about her foort hurting. She believed it hurt because they had to run the mile in PE every day – at least, that’s when it hurt the most. About a month later, and after several days when she didn’t feel pain at all, off we went to get it x-rayed. The Dr. said it was a fracture that had healed on its own. He also mentioned that it was not common to have this injury at her age.

She got her correct dose of vitamin D from the very day she was born, as I nursed her for a year, and she had to take vitamin D because babies don’t get that from breast milk. She is not a fragile child. She’s very strong. But I am puzzled by these recent bone issues, as it does not run in the family, and her two older sisters have never had a problem.

Jeannie, I have also read that T1s are at higher risk for osteoporosis. I have osteopenia, which is the pre-curser for osteoporosis. I have not had a bone scan done since 2005 so who knows where I am at now. I just Googled T1 & osteoporosis and found one article that mentioned kids – I will put the link below. Katherine falls into that category. Has anyone either done or suggested a full bone scan? The DXA scan is the one to do to get the full one. She should definitely have that since she has hip problems.

As far as Vitamin D goes, mine comes back at 31-32 and that is considered normal per my lab. Unfortunately, a lot of doctors also see it falls in lab range & think it is normal. I always like to learn what the optimal levels are – per the Vitamin D Council, the vitamin D levels should be about 50-80 to be optimal. Even being on 5000 IU daily of D3, my levels did not budge. One doctor suggested trying 10,000 IU daily – I am now doing that (when I remember to take them!).


Osteopenia was initially described in adolescents with diabetes, 50% of whom were found to have decreased cortical and trabecular forearm BMD.27 Several subsequent studies found that the forearm BMD in children with only 4–6 years of type 1 diabetes was 20–50% lower than that in control subjects.28 One study examining vertebral BMD found a decreased cortical but not trabecular BMD in children with diabetes.29 Most studies in children and adults confirm that BMD is lower in patients with type 1 diabetes than in subjects without diabetes.30–33


If her D levels are low, this can definitely effect bones (causing Osteopenia as described below, which can put her at an increased risk for fractures and will eventually lead to full-on Osteoperosis if ignored) The lab range is usually 30-60, but my doctor told me I would probably wouldn’t feel better until I hit 40-45. My last test came back in at 37 a few weeks ago, so that’s close to where my doctor wanted it, and most of the symptoms I had from having low D (mine got down to 14 last year - during the SUMMER and I only used sunscreen 4 times) have resolved. I am still taking supplements to get it up a bit higher, and I will probably continue to supplement until I am told not to.

I take 10,000iu of vitamin D3 (two 5,000iu softgels - they are tiny, smaller than 2 advil), plus I was on two courses (four months) of a prescription D2 supplement that was 50,000iu a week.