The symptoms of 430 type 2 diabetic patients were determined by a self-administered questionnaire before entry into the U.K. Prospective Diabetes Study.


Entry into the trial followed 2 months of dietary treatment for newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes. Forty symptoms with five levels of severity were included in the questionnaire. A complaint rate was computed as the sum of symptom scores divided by the number of symptom questions answered.


The complaint rate was independently and positively related to BMI, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and being a woman. Three symptoms—presence of dry mouth (P < 0.001), thirst (P < 0.01), and stomach pain (P = 0.02)—were related to FPG independent of sex, age, BMI, or blood pressure. Only dry mouth was related to HbA1c (P = 0.05). Complaints of shortness of breath, swollen ankles, headaches, heartburn, sweating, wheezing, nocturia, thirst, and diarrhea increased with BMI independently of other variables. A complaint of cold extremities decreased with BMI. Heartburn, weakness of limbs, and hot flushes were positively related to blood pressure, and unsteadiness was negatively related.


The symptoms reported by patients with type 2 diabetes increased with FPG and markedly with BMI. The symptoms associated with obesity have been underestimated in the past.

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