AIM: To determine whether gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are more frequent in type 2 diabetic patients and to examine which diabetic factors are associated with the symptoms.
METHODS: Consecutive subjects with diabetes and age-/gender-matched normal controls were recruited for this study. GI symptoms were assessed using a structured questionnaire divided into two GI symptom categories (upper and lower GI symptoms), and consisting of 11 individual symptoms. In the diabetic patient group, diabetic complications including peripheral neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level and diabetes duration were evaluated.
RESULTS: Among the total 190 diabetic patients and 190 controls enrolled, 137 (72%) of the diabetic patients and 116 (62%) of the controls had GI symptoms. In the diabetic patient group, 83 (43%) had upper GI symptoms and 110 (58%) lower GI symptoms; in the control group, 59 (31%) had upper GI symptoms and 104 (55%) lower GI symptoms. This difference between the two groups was significant for only the upper GI symptoms (P = 0.02). Among the diabetic factors, the HbA1c level was the only independent risk factor for upper GI symptoms in the multiple logistic regression analysis (odds ratio = 2.01, 95% confidence interval: 1.02-3.95).
CONCLUSION: Type 2 diabetes was associated with an increased prevalence of upper GI symptoms and these symptoms appeared to be independently linked to poor glycemic control, as measured by the HbA1c levels.