High Unawareness of Distal Sensorimotor Polyneuropathy

Most older adults with prediabetes or diabetes who have DSPN are unaware of their condition

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A high percentage of older adults with diabetes and prediabetes are unaware of having clinical distal sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN), according to a study published online Dec. 28 in Diabetes Care.

Brenda W.C. Bongaerts, Ph.D., from the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany, and colleagues assessed the prevalence of DSPN among 1,100 participants (aged 61 to 82 years old) from a population-based cohort study who underwent glucose tolerance testing. The presence of bilaterally impaired foot-vibration perception and/or bilaterally impaired foot-pressure sensation was used to define clinical DSPN.

The researchers found that 154 participants (14 percent) had prevalent clinical DSPN, 140 of whom were unaware of their disorder. Participants with combined impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance had the highest prevalence of DSPN (23.9 percent prevalence, with 10 of 11 unaware of their condition). DSPN was equally highly prevalent in participants with known diabetes (22.0 percent prevalence; 77 percent unaware of their condition). Eighteen of 25 (72 percent) clinical case subjects with known diabetes who reported having their feet examined by a physician were unaware of having DSPN.

"In conclusion, our findings show a high prevalence of unawareness of having clinical DSPN among subjects with prediabetes and with diabetes," the authors write. "Overall, these results suggest inadequate attention to diabetic foot prevention practice and insufficient adherence to the clinical guidelines for diabetes care necessary to prevent further development of severe diabetic foot complications."

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