Impaired taste acuity in patients with diabetes mellitus on maintenance hemodialysis

Nephron Clin Pract. 2003;94(2):c46-50. doi: 10.1159/000071281.


Aims: It has been reported that taste acuity for the four primary tastes, sour, sweet, salty and bitter, is impaired in hemodialysis (HD) patients. However, there have been no studies reported on taste acuity of diabetic HD patients. The present study aimed to quantify and compare the taste acuity of diabetic and non-diabetic HD patients, and further to determine if there were correlations between diminished taste acuity and certain blood serum parameters typically askew in hemodialysis patients.

Methods: In a test group of 24 diabetic and 24 non-diabetic HD patients matched for age, body mass index and duration of HD, taste acuity for the four tastes was determined by asking patients to identify them at varying concentrations.

Results: Statistical analyses indicate that bitter and total taste acuity were significantly impaired in diabetic HD patients. In diabetic HD patients, correlation was found between sweet, salty or total taste acuity and blood urea nitrogen or normalized protein catabolic rate.

Conclusions: We conclude that taste acuity is partially impaired in diabetic HD patients, and suggest this contributes to reduced appetite, leading to malnutrition and poor prognoses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Disorders / etiology
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Renal Dialysis / methods
  • Taste Disorders / etiology*
  • Time


  • Proteins