Incontinence Common in Obese and Overweight Diabetic Women

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Weekly urinary incontinence is highly prevalent among overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes, according to recently published findings from the Action for Health in Diabetes study. In fact, it is the most common diabetes-related complication observed in the study.

Overall, 27% of the women reported weekly incontinence, 7.5% reported retinopathy, 2.2% reported microalbuminuria, and 1.5% reported neuropathy, investigators reported in Diabetes Care (2009; published online ahead of print).

The prevalence of weekly incontinence varied by race and ethnicity. It was highest among non-Hispanic whites (32%) and lowest in Asians and African-Americans (12% and 18%, respectively). Compared with non-Hispanic whites, Asian and African-American women had a 75% and 55% reduced likelihood of weekly incontinence.

Additionally, women with a BMI of 35 kg/m2 were 55% and 85% more likely to have any incontinence and stress incontinence, respectively, compared with non-obese women. Risk factors for any incontinence and stress incontinence included prior hysterectomy (40% and 80% increased risk, respectively) and UTI in the previous year (55% and 90% increased risk).

The study, led by Suzanne Phelan, PhD, of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., included 2,994 overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes.

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