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Diabetic Factors Linked With Gastrointestinal Symptoms

April 12, 2010

There are several papers which report the association of GI symptoms with diabetes. Epidemiological data regarding the association of GI symptoms with diabetes are, however, inconsistent, and the reported frequency of upper and lower GI symptoms varies among different ethnic groups/populations.

A research article to be published on April 14, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. A research article by Kim JH et al is the first study in Korea to examine the GI symptoms in type 2 diabetic patients and to analyze the diabetic factors associated with these symptoms. In this well designed case-control study with age- and sex-matched controls, the frequency of overall GI symptoms, upper GI symptoms and lower GI symptoms in the 190 patients with diabetes was 72%, 43% and 58%, respectively. The risk of only upper GI symptoms showed a statistically significant increase, with 1.68 times as many (with adjustments for age, gender, smoking and alcohol use) in the diabetic group than in the control group.

In addition, this study demonstrated that upper GI symptoms appeared to be independently linked to poor glycemic control as measured by HbA1c levels. Therefore, Kim JH et al cautiously suggest that chronic upper GI symptoms may be reversible with tight control of blood glucose level.

Reference: Kim JH, Park HS, Ko SY, Hong SN, Sung IK, Shim CS, Song KH, Kim DL, Kim SK, Oh J. Diabetic factors associated with gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with type 2 diabetes. World J Gastroenterol 2010; 16(14): 1782-1787

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