Diabetes symptoms and distress in ACCORD trial participants: relationship to baseline clinical variables
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Our study demonstrates strong associations of diabetes symptoms and distress with female sex, higher BMI, history of neuropathy, and current depressive symptoms. Many diabetes-specific symptoms may be significantly shaped by factors such as depression and obesity. Type 2 diabetes may lead to a variety of symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and burning feet. These symptoms diminish quality of life, impair functional status, and contribute to the psychological distress experienced by patients with diabetes. However, there is no established metric for the severity of diabetes symptoms and associated distress. Many diabetes symptoms are linked through established pathophysiological mechanisms to inadequate short- or long-term glucose control or acute hypoglycemia. But studies to date suggest that the relationship between severity of diabetes symptoms and measures of glucose control such as A1C is weak. A better understanding of factors that amplify or dampen diabetes-related symptoms could lead to improved approaches to maximize the quality of life of diabetes patients. The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship of scores on the Diabetes Symptoms Distress Questionnaire to demographic and clinical variables for patients with type 2 diabetes. This included an evaluation of the cross-sectional association of diabetes symptoms and distress with demographic and clinical variables such as A1C, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes duration and complications, and depression status. We also examined the association of diabetes symptoms and distress with patients' overall health state as measured by a feeling thermometer. The feeling thermometer allows patients to rate their current overall health between 100 (perfect health) and 0 (death).
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