The emergence of iron deficiency anaemia, mental health disorders and gastrointestinal disorders as leading causes of excess hospitalization in type 2 diabetes compared to the general population was met with some surprise by Monash University Heart and Diabetes Institute Principal Investigator Professor Diana Magliano.
The study, published in the online edition of the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, found that diabetics with type 2 diabetes were much more likely to be hospitalized with iron deficiency anemia than people without diabetes.
“We have never seen this result described before,” said Prof Magliano. “The burden of anemia among type 2 diabetic patients was one of the most surprising observations. Although it is known that diabetes can contribute to anemia through reduced iron absorption, bleeding in the digestive system and through complications that cause anemia, it was not expected to see the relationship between diabetes and iron deficiency anemia appearing significantly as a complication. ”
The team of researchers used data from 456,265 people with type 2 diabetes registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme between 2010 and 2017.
Previous studies have assessed hospitalizations by disease group, but this study is the first of its kind to delve into the specifics of hospitalizations for people living with type 2 diabetes.
“Because we now have better management of diabetes, the rate of people being hospitalized with cardiovascular disease and kidney disease is decreasing,” said Prof Magliano. “But we are now seeing a diversity of diabetes complications. This is an important clinical finding as it means we need to reevaluate diabetes care to include treatment and prevention of other predisposing conditions.”
She added: “Our findings suggest the possibility of a biological link between type 2 diabetes and iron deficiency anemia, but further research is needed to confirm this,” she said.
Iron deficiency anemia can cause fatigue, dizziness, a fast or irregular heartbeat, and can put extra stress on the heart. However, most cases can be treated.
Prof. Julio Weinstein, director of the diabetes research unit at Wolfson Hospital and a senior diabetologist at the DMC Diabetes Center: “In the past, it was known that the leading cause of excess hospitalizations for men living with type 2 diabetes was cellulitis, a well-known complication of diabetes. Other known complications that were responsible for a large number of excess hospitalizations included heart failure, heart attack and blood pressure problems. What this study showed is that people with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of hospitalization for most medical conditions compared to the general population, including conditions not normally associated with diabetes. These are important findings that demonstrate the need to change diabetes management to explain the changing prevalence of complications. It is very important to monitor sugar levels using a continuous blood sugar meter and without pricks in order to monitor sugar levels regularly, maintain a healthy and balanced diet, exercise and avoid stress.”
Also, an Israeli study that examined the use of continuous glucose monitoring technology found that the use of the system among diabetics who inject insulin reduced the glycated hemoglobin Hba1c indicators compared to monitoring with a home glucose meter (finger prick). “Without monitoring, insulin-dependent diabetics are in a state of uncertainty and high exposure to a hypoglycemic event,” added Prof. Weinstein. “The Libra Freestyle leads to a better balance, without increasing the incidence of hypoglycemia.”