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Clin Sci (Lond). 1990 Apr;78(4):377-81.

Total-body potassium in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Medicine, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.


1. Total-body potassium and fat-free mass have been measured in 31 insulin-dependent diabetic patients and 31 age- and sex-matched normal volunteers. 2. Body mass index was significantly higher in the insulin-dependent diabetic patients (24.7 +/- 0.5 vs 23.3 +/- 0.4 kg/m2; P = 0.05). 3. Total-body potassium, uncorrected and corrected for weight and for fat-free mass, was not significantly different in the two groups (3281 +/- 141 mmol, 47.3 +/- 1.3 mmol/kg body weight, 60.9 +/- 1.0 mmol/kg fat-free mass, and 3315 +/- 143 mmol, 48.6 +/- 1.0 mmol/kg body weight, 60.4 +/- 0.8 mmol/kg fat-free mass, respectively, in diabetic patients and non-diabetic subjects). There was no relationship between blood glucose control, as assessed by glycated haemoglobin concentrations, and total-body potassium. 4. These results suggest, by contrast with previous reports, that in insulin-dependent diabetic patients, showing varying degrees of glycaemic control (glycated haemoglobin range 6.1-15.3%, mean 9.0%) that: (a) there is no significant abnormality of body potassium homoeostasis, and (b) there is no relation between total-body potassium and glycaemic control.

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