1. Total-body potassium and fat-free mass have been measured in 31 insulin-dependent diabetic patients and 31 age- and sex-matched normal volunteers.
2. Body mass index was significantly higher in the insulin-dependent diabetic patients (24.7 ± .5 vs 23.3 ± 0.4 kg/m2; P = 0.05).
3. Total-body potassium, uncorrected and corrected for weight and for fat-free mass, was not significantly different in the two groups (3281 ± 141 mmol, 47.3 ± 1.3 mmol/kg body weight, 60.9 ± 1.0 mmol/kg fat-free mass, and 3315 ± 143 mmol, 48.6 ± 1.0 mmol/kg body weight, 60.4 ± 0.8 mmol/kg fat-free mass, respectively, in diabetic patients and non-diabetic subjects). There was no relationship between blood glucose control, as assessed by glycated haemoglobin concentrations, and total-body potassium.
4. These results suggest, by contrast with previous reports, that in insulin-dependent diabetic patients, showing varying degrees of glycaemic control (glycated haemoglobin range 6.1–15.3%, mean 9.0%) that: (a) there is no significant abnormality of body potassium homoeostasis, and (b) there is no relation between total-body potassium and glycaemic control.