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Altered taste threshold in chronic Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Latha G S, Chandrashekar D M, Nagaraja Puranik.


Background: “Taste” is one of our basic senses. The prevalence of hypogeusia or ageusia is much more than what we are aware of, and hence it is addressed to a lesser extent. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one such disease, which majorly contributes to the burden of taste dysfunction.

Aims and Objectives: We have undertaken the present study to test and compare taste threshold in these patients with age and sex-matched healthy individuals.

Materials and Methods: Sixty normal subjects with no DM were taken as controls and 60 known cases of Type 2 DM patients were taken as subjects in the present study. Taste threshold tests were performed in both these groups and were compared.

Result: Chemical gustometry tests for five primary taste sensation were performed, it was observed that taste threshold for sweet and salty taste was higher and statistically significant (P < 0.01) in Type 2 diabetic patients compared to the control group. However, it was not significantly different for other taste modalities sour, bitter, and umami.

Conclusion: Taste dysfunction was evident in Type 2 diabetic patients. The increased taste threshold is specific, affecting salt and sweet modality mainly. Dysfunction of taste sensation should be detected in diabetics by screening. Measures to improve the food intake and supplementation for nutritional deficiencies can be given priority in diabetics.

Key words: Taste Threshold; Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; Salt; Sweet; Umami; Sour; Bitter

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