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Editor's Correspondence
May 13, 2002

Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-Based Study

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(9):1067-1069. doi:

There has been a long-standing debate about whether gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are more frequent in people with diabetes than in the nondiabetic population.1 However, most studies that have addressed this question have been limited by the use of highly selected populations of people with diabetes and by the absence or inadequacy of control groups. In the September 10, 2001, issue of the ARCHIVES, Bytzer and colleagues2 reported results from a population-based study in Australia. They found 16 GI symptoms and 5 symptom complexes to have been significantly more frequent in the past 3 months in people with diabetes compared with nondiabetic controls, an association that was independent of age and sex. Among the people with diabetes there was no difference in the frequency of GI symptoms between those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, with the exception of one symptom complex (any bowel movement). There was no association between GI symptoms and diabetes duration. Poor metabolic control was significantly associated with higher frequency of lumpy or hard stools, urgency, and the symptom complex of upper dysmotility symptoms. Only few associations were found for GI symptoms and the modus of therapy. However, presence of diabetes, therapy, and glycemic control were only assessed by self-report of the study subjects, and further variables, eg, history of GI diseases, presence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), or late complications in diabetes, in particular, neuropathy, were not included.

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