Prediabetes may not explain diabetic polyneuropathies

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.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Advance toward first saliva test for Type 2 diabetes

Jan 19, 2009

Scientists in Oregon and India are reporting an advance toward developing the first saliva test to diagnose and monitor effectiveness of treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Their report was published in the Jan. 2 issue of ACS' ...

Recommended for you

New standards of care from the American Diabetes Association

Dec 23, 2014

The American Diabetes Association is recommending a less stringent diastolic blood pressure target for people with diabetes and that all people with diabetes take either moderate or high doses of statins, in keeping with ...

User 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.