Almost half of type 2 diabetes patients report acute and chronic pain

August 8, 2012 By Steve Tokar

Almost half of adults with type 2 diabetes report acute and chronic pain, and close to one quarter report neuropathy, fatigue, depression, sleep disturbance and physical or emotional disability, according to a study of more than 13,000 adults conducted by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, the University of California, San Francisco and the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. The researchers also found significant rates of shortness of breath, nausea and constipation.

in the study reported significant pain and non-pain symptoms across the entire course of the disease, among all age groups, with prevalence increasing as people neared the end of their lives.

The findings appear in the and were made available online last week at www.SpringerLink.com. According to the authors, it is the largest observational study to assess a full range of pain and non-pain symptoms among patients with type 2 diabetes, and the first to characterize the kinds of symptoms that patients experience.

"Adults living with type 2 diabetes are suffering from incredibly high rates of pain and non-pain symptoms, at levels similar to patients with living with cancer," said lead author Rebecca Sudore, a staff physician at SFVAMC and associate professor of medicine at UCSF.

She noted that tens of millions of Americans have type 2 diabetes.

"The field of diabetes has focused, and rightfully so, on decreasing patients' blood sugar, blood pressure and in attempt to prevent complications such as cardiovascular disease, , and blindness," said Andrew J. Karter, PhD, a principal investigator of the DISTANCE and Diabetes & Aging Studies, and senior research scientist at Kaiser. "However, our observations provide an important wake up call for clinicians to not wait until the latest stages of diabetes to focus on these patient-reported outcomes, but rather to consider early palliative care as part of usual chronic disease management."

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness that provides an added layer of support in addition to regular disease management, with the goal of relieving symptoms and improving quality of life, explained Sudore. She noted that other studies suggest that seriously ill patients who receive palliative care live longer with a better quality of life.

"Palliative care has already begun to be woven into the care provided to patients with cancer, heart failure and kidney failure," she said. "Our results highlight the need to expand diabetes management to also include the palliative care model."

The research team surveyed 13,171 adults with diabetes, aged 30 to 75 years, who were enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California and participated in the NIH-funded Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE) and its ancillary Diabetes & Aging Study.

Adults over the age of 60 reported more physical symptoms such as pain, whereas adults younger than 60 reported more psychosocial symptoms such as fatigue and depression. Symptom burden remained high even after the researchers accounted for other medical illnesses and duration of . Results were based on self-reported symptoms and chart review.

In , the most common form of the disease, patients' blood sugars become chronically elevated, which in turn damages blood vessels and nerves leading to and from the heart, brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, ears, legs and feet. This damage can lead to serious illness and death.

Explore further: Depression increases risk of dementia in patients with Type 2 diabetes

More information: To access full story: www.springerlink.com/content/r … 4122075/fulltext.pdf

Related Stories

Depression increases risk of dementia in patients with Type 2 diabetes

December 5, 2011
Depression in patients with diabetes is associated with a substantively increased risk of development of dementia compared to those with diabetes alone, according to researchers from the University of Washington and Kaiser ...

Elderly diabetes patients with very low glucose levels have slightly increased risk of death

April 18, 2011
A new study of older diabetes patients has found that well-controlled blood sugar levels were associated with a lower risk of major complications such as heart attacks, amputation and kidney disease, but the very lowest blood ...

Recommended for you

Screen time linked to diabetes

July 28, 2017
Daily screen time of three or more hours is linked to several risk factors associated with the development of diabetes in children, according to a study by St George's, University of London.

People who drink 3 to 4 times per week less likely to develop diabetes than those who never drink: study

July 27, 2017
Frequent alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes in both men and women, according to a new study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), with ...

Diabetes can be tracked with our Google searches

July 26, 2017
The emergence of Type 2 Diabetes could be more effectively monitored using our Google searches—helping public health officials keep track of the disease and halt its spread—according to research by the University of Warwick.

Scientists discover a new way to treat type 2 diabetes

July 21, 2017
Medication currently being used to treat obesity is also proving to have significant health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes. A new study published today in Molecular Metabolism explains how this therapeutic benefit ...

Alzheimer's drug cuts hallmark inflammation related to metabolic syndrome by 25 percent

July 20, 2017
An existing Alzheimer's medication slashes inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome, a potential therapeutic intervention for a highly dangerous condition affecting 30 percent of adults in the ...

Diabetes or its precursor affects 100 million Americans

July 19, 2017
Almost one-third of the US population—100 million people—either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report Tuesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.