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The prevalence of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) has increased in the past two decades, and diabetes mellitus (DM) is frequently associated with HFpEF. Although it has been demonstrated that left ventricular (LV) diastolic and vascular functional abnormalities are generally observed in HFpEF, it remains to be clinically elucidated how an asymptomatic stage progresses to symptomatic HFpEF in DM patients. We aimed to identify risk factors associated with incident HFpEF in DM patients and to evaluate the contribution of LV relaxation and compliance to the development of HFpEF.The study included 544 consecutive Japanese DM patients with ejection fraction ≥50%. Patients with coronary artery disease or serum creatinine ≥2.0 mg/dL were excluded. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that obesity, female gender, anaemia, and impaired LV compliance were independently associated with the prevalence of HFpEF, and that age, LV mass index, an index of LV relaxation, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and history of hypertension were not. There was no difference in haemoglobin A1c or brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity between the DM patients with and without HFpEF.This study suggests that exacerbation of LV compliance impairment, rather than of relaxation abnormality or vascular stiffening, plays a crucial role in the induction of HFpEF in DM patients regardless of the severity of DM and renal dysfunction. Anaemia and obesity may also contribute to the transition from asymptomatic stage to symptomatic HFpEF even without further progression of LV diastolic dysfunction.