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Diabetes Care. 2009 Aug;32(8):1391-7. doi: 10.2337/dc09-0516. Epub 2009 Jun 1.

Prevalence and risk factors for urinary incontinence in overweight and obese diabetic women: action for health in diabetes (look ahead) study.

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Kinesiology Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, USA.


OBJECTIVE To determine the prevalence and risk factors for urinary incontinence among different racial/ethnic groups of overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study, a randomized clinical trial with 2,994 overweight/obese women with type 2 diabetes. RESULTS Weekly incontinence (27%) was reported more often than other diabetes-associated complications, including retinopathy (7.5%), microalbuminuria (2.2%), and neuropathy (1.5%). The prevalence of weekly incontinence was highest among non-Hispanic whites (32%) and lowest among African Americans (18%), and Asians (12%) (P < 0.001). Asian and African American women had lower odds of weekly incontinence compared with non-Hispanic whites (75 and 55% lower, respectively; P < 0.001). Women with a BMI of > or =35 kg/m(2) had a higher odds of overall and stress incontinence (55-85% higher; P < 0.03) compared with that for nonobese women. Risk factors for overall incontinence, as well as for stress and urgency incontinence, included prior hysterectomy (40-80% increased risk; P < 0.01) and urinary tract infection in the prior year (55-90% increased risk; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS Among overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes, urinary incontinence is highly prevalent and far exceeds the prevalence of other diabetes complications. Racial/ethnic differences in incontinence prevalence are similar to those in women without diabetes, affecting non-Hispanic whites more than Asians and African Americans. Increasing obesity (BMI > or =35 kg/m(2)) was the strongest modifiable risk factor for overall incontinence and stress incontinence in this diverse cohort.

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