(HealthDay News) – Patients with type 1 diabetes (DM1) have a high prevalence of chronic fatigue, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Diabetes Care.

Martine M. Goedendorp, PhD, from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues compared 214 randomly selected DM1 outpatients with age and sex-matched population based controls to examine the prevalence, impact, and potential determinants of chronic fatigue. Questionnaires and medical records were used to assess chronic fatigue, functional impairments, current health status, comorbidity, diabetes-related factors, and fatigue-related cognitions and behaviors. Continuous glucose monitoring was undertaken by 66 patients, together with an electronic fatigue diary for five days.

The researchers found that patients with DM1 were significantly more often chronically fatigued compared with matched controls (40% vs. 7%). There were significantly more functional impairments for chronically fatigued patients, with fatigue the most troublesome symptom. Chronic fatigue was significantly associated with age, depression, pain, sleeping problems, low self-efficacy concerning fatigue, and physical inactivity. Patients who were chronically fatigued spent slightly less time in hypoglycemia (proportion, 0.07 vs. 0.12; P=0.025), but glucose parameters were not associated with acute fatigue.

“Chronic fatigue is highly prevalent and clinically relevant in DM1,” the authors write. “Its significant relationship with cognitive-behavioral variables and weak association with blood glucose levels suggests that behavioral interventions could be helpful in managing chronic fatigue in DM1.”

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