Prevalence of taste and smell impairment in adults with diabetes: A cross-sectional analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

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Aim: This study investigates the prevalence of smell and taste impairment in adults with diabetes and potential risk factors for sense deterioration and its influence of daily food intake. Methods: Data from the NHANES 2013-2014 were analyzed. Smell impairment was defined as failing to identify ≥3 of 8 odors in NHANES Pocket Smell Test. Taste impairment was defined as being unable to identify quinine or NaCl in NHANES Tongue Tip and Whole-mouth Test. Results: A total of 3204 people (428 patients with diabetes, 2776 controls) were suitable to be included. The prevalence of smell impairment in patients with diabetes was higher compared to the controls: 22% versus 15% (p < 0.001). The difference prevailed after adjustment for age, BMI, alcohol misuse and smoking status. Taste was not impaired in patients with diabetes (p = 0.29). Patients with diabetes and smell impairment had a lower daily calorie intake compared to patients with diabetes and normal smell function. The duration of diabetes, diabetic complications and other potential risk factors were not associated with smell dysfunction. Conclusions: Smell dysfunction appears with a higher prevalence in patients with diabetes, and this seems to negatively affect daily food intake.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPrimary Care Diabetes
Pages (from-to)453-459
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • Diabetes, Food intake, Smell impairment, Taste impairment

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