Prevalence and correlates of pain in fatigued patients with type 1 diabetes

J Psychosom Res. 2017 Apr:95:68-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.02.010. Epub 2017 Feb 21.


Objective: To investigate the prevalence, location and severity of pain, as well as its association with psychosocial and clinical variables and its impact on functional impairment in fatigued patients with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: 120 severely fatigued patients with type 1 diabetes completed questionnaires on pain (McGill Pain Questionnaire, MPQ; Short Form Health Survey subscale bodily pain, SF-36), fatigue severity (Checklist Individual Strength subscale fatigue severity, CIS), depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory Primary Care, BDI-PC) and functional impairment (Sickness Impact Profile-8, SIP-8). HbA1c and diabetes-related complications were assessed, and physical activity was measured using actigraphy.

Results: 72% of patients reported pain. Muscle, joint and back pain, and headache were most common. Patients with pain were more often female (69 vs. 44%, p=0.013), reported more complications (mean number: 0.7 vs. 0.3, p=0.009) and scored higher on the BDI-PC measuring depressive symptoms (mean score: 3.8 vs. 2.3, p=0.002), compared to patients without pain. Pain was associated with diabetes duration, the number of complications, fatigue severity, depressive symptoms and functional impairment, but not with HbA1c or physical activity. Of patients with pain, 26% reported a high impact of pain. Both pain (β=-0.31, t(117)=-3.39, p=0.001) and fatigue severity (β=0.18, t(117)=2.04, p=0.044) contributed to functional impairment.

Conclusion: Pain was highly prevalent in fatigued patients with type 1 diabetes, although pain impact and severity were relatively low, and the location of some pain symptoms was similar to the location of those in the general population. As pain is related to fatigue and contributes independently to functional impairment, fatigue interventions should address pain.

Keywords: Fatigue; Functional impairment; Glycemic control; Pain; Type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Complications / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Surveys and Questionnaires