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Diabetologia. 2005 Feb;48(2):210-4. Epub 2005 Jan 14.

Symptoms, signs and complications in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients, and their relationship to glycaemia, blood pressure and weight.

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Research Unit of General Practice, Copenhagen, Kommunehospitalet, Center for Sundhed og Samfund, 5 Ă˜ster Farimagsgade 2099, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark.



To document the prevalence of typical diabetic symptoms, signs and complications in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus, examine their pre-diagnostic duration, and analyse associations with glycaemic level, blood pressure (BP), and weight.


An epidemiological population-based study of 1137 Danish patients with type 2 diabetes newly diagnosed by general practitioners (GPs). GPs and patients together filled in a questionnaire about typical symptoms, signs and complications preceding the diagnosis.


Abnormal thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, genital itching, stomatitis, visual disturbances, fatigue, confusion and (in men) balanitis were associated with glycaemic level irrespective of age, sex, BMI, BP, complications and antihypertensive treatment. Eighty-nine percent of the patients presented with one or more of these hyperglycaemic symptoms and signs, and the pre-diagnostic duration was typically less than 3 months. Only a few symptoms, signs and complications were associated with weight and BP.


In patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in family practice, typical diabetic symptoms, signs and complications are common. Typical diabetic symptoms and signs are associated with hyperglycaemia. The pre-diagnostic duration of hyperglycaemic symptoms and signs were typically short, thus questioning the feasibility of early detection relying on increased anticipatory care by GPs. In contrast, elevated levels of cardiovascular risk factors and longer pre-diagnostic duration of cardiovascular complications suggest these might have a central role in an early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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