Background: Magnesium, the second most abundant intracellular cation, plays a key role in cellular metabolism. Even though hypomagnesemia has been demonstrated in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes elsewhere, limited information exists from African patients with diabetes mellitus.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of hypomagnesemia in Ethiopian patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A total of 159 subjects were included in the study (44 patients had type 1 diabetes, 69 patients had type 2, and 46 were nondiabetic controls).
Results: The mean age (+/-standard error of the mean) of the subjects with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and controls was 30.6+/-1.6, 51.3+/-1.3, and 29.0+/-1.7 years, respectively (P<.001). Patients with type 2 diabetes were significantly older than those with type 1 diabetes and controls. Basal C-peptide level and body mass index were also significantly higher in patients with type 2 diabetes (P<.001). The mean magnesium level was significantly lower in patients with diabetes than in controls (.84+/-.12 mmol/L vs 1.02+/-.17 mmol/L, P<.001). Hypomagnesemia was seen in 65% of the patients with diabetes.
Conclusion: The study showed that patients with diabetes mellitus have lower levels of magnesium and are therefore at increased risk of complications related to magnesium. In light of these potential complications, we recommend periodic determination of magnesium levels and appropriate magnesium replacements.