OBJECTIVE: Gustatory sweating (GS) is characterized by profuse sweating during or immediately after ingestion of food and is known as a complication of diabetes mellitus (DM). This study aimed to determine the prevalence of GS and to characterize the sweating in a cohort of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T1DM and T2DM) as compared with a control group.
METHODS: In a cross-sectional study, 665 outpatients with T1DM and 505 outpatients with T2DM filled in an 8-point questionnaire about GS. Answers were paired with medical data from the electronic patient records to explore associations with DM complications. The control group consisted of 1158 persons without DM answering the same questionnaire in an online version.
RESULTS: In people with T1DM and T2DM, the prevalence of GS was 10% (95% CI 7%-12%) and 13% (95% CI 10%-16%), respectively. In the control group, the prevalence of GS was 5% (95% CI 3%-6%). Most commonly, people sweat on the face and/or head and upper body with a duration of 10-30 min albeit in the control group <10 min. In patients with T1DM, increased HbA1c was associated with GS (OR 1.3 [95% CI 1.05-1.6], p = .016), and in T2DM, younger age (OR 0.95 [95% CI 0.92-0.99), p = .006), presence of severe peripheral neuropathy (OR 2.33 [95% CI 1.04-5.2], p = .039) and absence of proliferative retinopathy were associated with GS (OR 0.22 [95% CI 0.07-0.71], p = .011).
CONCLUSION: We found the prevalence of gustatory sweating of 11% in a hospital-based cohort of patients with T1DM and T2DM. This was twice as high as in non-diabetic control persons. Associations between GS and known diabetes complications could only be demonstrated in T2DM. Compared with a control group without DM, odds for GS are higher in people with DM and age >45.