Research suggests that nontraditional complications of type 2 diabetes are now hospitalizing more people than 20 years ago.
Lesser-known complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) lead to more hospitalizations for conditions such as infections (i.e., pneumonia, sepsis), mental disorders and gastrointestinal disease, according to a study presented at the September European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting.
Of the comorbid complications for diabetes, only four traditional conditions — including cellulitis, heart failure, urinary tract infections and skin abscesses — were the leading causes of hospitalizations in men and women.
“While traditional complications such as heart failure and cellulitis remain a significant burden for people with T2DM, infections less commonly associated with diabetes and mental health disorders emerge as leading causes of hospitalizations and carry significant burdens, sometimes exceeding the top-ranked well-ranked . known complications,” lead study author Dee Tomic, of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia, said in a press release.
The research team examined hospital records of 456,265 patients with TD2M, aged 15 years and older, who were registered in the Australian Diabetes Registry between 2010 and 2017. They compared this data with data from 19 million Australians aged 15 years and older to estimate the relative risk of hospitalization in patients with T2DM compared to the general population.
The researchers divided diabetes complications into 3 categories:
Traditional Complications—Vascular disease, renal failure, retinopathy and cataracts, neuropathy, obesity, infections associated with diabetes and known diabetes complications (eg, amputation).
Emerging Complications—Liver disease, mental disorders, various cancers (eg gastrointestinal) and uncommon infections associated with diabetes (including respiratory infections and sepsis).
Complications not widely recognized—All other diagnoses.
Researchers found that individuals with T2DM had a greater risk of hospitalization due to most medical conditions compared to the general population. Per 100,000 people, 364 men were hospitalized annually for cellulite, followed by 241 with stress disorders and 228 with iron deficiency anemia.
Per 100,000 women with T2DM, 558 were hospitalized annually with iron deficiency anemia, followed by 332 with complications from urinary tract infections and 267 with cellulitis. Lesser-known complications, such as depression, left 256 women hospitalized, while 237 women with T2DM were hospitalized with gastrointestinal disorders.
“The much greater risk for most mental health diagnoses in the diabetic population reinforces the evidence for mental health disorders as an emerging complication of T2DM,” said senior author Dianna Magliano, head of Diabetes and Population Health at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. , in the press release.
In addition, women with T2DM were twice as likely than the general population to be hospitalized with asthma.
The study had limitations in that it looked for observational associations and not cause and effect. Researchers also examined the population of a high-income country with white white individuals, generalizing the findings.
“The unexpected finding of large anemia in both men and women with T2DM suggests the possibility of a biological link between diabetes and iron deficiency. To look at these and other new findings in more detail, we need to conduct further analyzes as diabetes registries become increasingly common to understand the effects of diabetes on all organs to guide prevention and management strategies,” Magliano said in the press release.
Diabetology. Reasons for hospitalizations in people with type 2 diabetes are changing. EurekAlert! September 1, 2022. Accessed September 6, 2022. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/963507