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Half of type 2 diabetics living with chronic pain

A new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine has found that nearly one in two people with type 2 diabetes suffer from acute and chronic pain.
Researchers from the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, examined more than 13 000 adults with type 2 diabetes, aged 30 to 75, and discovered that almost 50 per cent had chronic pain (i.e. mild or severe pain that lasts longer than six months).
They also found that about a quarter of patients suffered depression, fatigue, neuropathy, sleeplessness, emotional disability and other problems associated with chronic pain, while high rates of nausea, constipation and shortness of breath were also noted. Most of these symptoms, however, were more common in older diabetics.
The researchers said the findings highlight the need to expand diabetes management to include a specialised form of treatment called palliative care, which focuses on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life, and has already been introduced as part of care for cancer, heart failure and kidney failure.
Andrew Karter, senior research scientist at Kaiser, said: “The field of diabetes has focused, and rightfully so, on decreasing patients’ blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in an attempt to prevent complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, amputations and blindness.”
“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 .”

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