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A study of taste alterations in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients with a good glycemic control

Afshan Zainab Hasan, Preethi B L, Pramila Kalra, Arun Kumar M.


Background: The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and its complications pose a challenge to healthcare systems today, with a paucity of research examining the impact of T2DM on gustatory functions, especially in India.

Aim and Objective: The objective of this study was to assess gustatory function in T2DM patients with good glycemic control and a disease duration ≤5 years and compare it with the findings in normal individuals.

Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with a sample size of 40, including patients and controls, aged 25–50 years. The Institute’s Ethics Committee clearance was taken, and written informed consent was obtained from the subjects. The evaluation of gustatory function was done using the triple drop test. Different concentrations of tastants were presented to the subjects. Scoring was done on the identification of increasing concentrations from “5” to “1.”

Results: Taste scores for sweet, salty, sour, and bitter tastants were lesser in diabetic patients. This was statistically significant (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Taste impairment seems to affect diabetic patients relative to healthy controls. This could be an indication of central diabetic neuropathy. Hypogeusia in type 2 diabetic patients may influence the choice of nutrients such as an increased preference for sweet-tasting or salty foods, thus imposing health risks and affecting the quality of life.

Key words: Central diabetic neuropathy; Gustatory function; Hypogeusia; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Quality of life

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