Prediabetes may not explain diabetic polyneuropathies

February 22, 2012

In a reversal of two decades of medical reports, a Mayo Clinic study finds the frequency of nerve damage called diabetic polyneuropathy is similar in prediabetic patients and healthy people. Physicians should seek explanations other than prediabetes for patients who have painful small fiber polyneuropathy, the researchers say. The study was published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

Diabetic polyneuropathies, or DPN, are commonly associated with diabetes and chemical derangements related to . The neuropathies can injure throughout the body, but usually affect the feet and legs. The can create sensory, motor and bodily function problems. DPN can be painful and life-threatening.

"It is highly unlikely that impaired glucose or associated metabolic derangements cause polyneuropathy, at least not to the high frequency previously reported," says lead author Peter J. Dyck, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist.

The five-year study, "Impaired Glycemia and Diabetic Polyneuropathy: The OC IG Survey," tested nearly 550 people representative of a community of older patients of Northern European extraction. Of these, 150 individuals were healthy subjects, 174 had prediabetes indicators, and 208 had newly developed type 2 diabetes. The study concluded that typical or atypical (a painful small-fiber variety) DPN was not more prevalent in prediabetics than in healthy people.

While the researchers agree that prediabetes is a precursor of type 2 diabetes, they found no evidence that it directly leads to greater prevalence of typical or atypical DPN. Attempts should be made to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes; however, considering the complications from overtreatment, the study suggests physicians should avoid treatment of as diabetes if their intention is to prevent the development of diabetic polyneuropathy, the researchers say.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Unique molecular atlas of pancreas produced

September 23, 2016

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have managed to produce the first molecular map of the genes that are active in the various cells of the human pancreas. They have also revealed differences in genetic activity between ...

Can long naps cause diabetes?

September 14, 2016

A study presented at a scientific congress Thursday reported a link between long naps and a higher risk of diabetes, though it couldn't say if daytime sleeping was a symptom or a cause.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.