Independent Risk Factors for Diabetic Neuropathy


Source: Cohen JA, et al. Muscle Nerve 1998;21:72-80.

Among 949 and 869 non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients with sensorimotor (DSPN) and autonomic neuropathy (DAN), respectively, independent risk factors for the development of these complications were identified. For the former, modifiable risk factors included body weight (odds ratio = 1.1 per 5 kg increase) and duration of hypertension (odds ratio = 1.1 per 10-year increase), whereas body weight (odds ratio = 1.1 per 5 kg increase) and glycosylated hemoglobin (odds ratio = 1.1 per 2.5% increase) were identified for the latter.


Overall, vascular factors and hypertension control appear more important in the development of DSPN, while metabolic factors play a greater role in DAN. Identifying and modifying these risk factors may prevent or delay the onset of these painful and potentially lethal diabetic complications. (Dr. Rubin is Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.)