Risk of Polyneuropathy High in the Obese, Even Those With Normal Blood Sugar Levels

New research into polyneuropathy in obese individuals concludes that the most culpable metabolic components include both overweight condition and prediabetes, in addition to diabetes itself. The clinical significance, according to the authors, is that physicians should be aware of the role of prediabetes and obesity—not just diabetes itself—in the propensity to develop polyneuropathy. The research was conducted by a team from the University of Michigan, and was published online last month in JAMA Neurology. The risk for polyneuropathy was found to be high in obese individuals even if they recorded normal blood sugar levels.

Past research had demonstrated an association between metabolic syndrome and polyneuropathy, but the exact components responsible for the connection remained unclear. This observational study compared 102 obese individuals, both with and without comorbid conditions, to a control group of 53 lean individuals. The prevalence of polyneuropathy, stratified by glycemic status, was tracked. The team found that the rates of polyneuropathy in the different cohorts were 3.8% in the lean controls, 11.1% in obese patients with normoglycemia, 29% in obese patients with prediabetes, and 34% in obese participants with diabetes. The authors concluded that “Current clinical practice concentrates on the management of diabetes in those with neuropathy. However, our data also support management of obesity and prediabetes more than other metabolic factors, such as hyperlipidemia and hypertension.”

Read more about the findings and recommendations here.

The journal abstract may be read here.


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