Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which the long nerves of the hands and feet may be damaged by having elevated blood glucose levels.  This condition is determined by a physical exam of the feet to determine if there is decreased sensation or loss of sensation in the feet.  This can lead to an increased risk of developing sores or wounds on the feet and increases the risk for an amputation.  In an analysis of data from 13,000 patients in England, researchers looked at individuals with Type 2 diabetes with no history of heart disease and determined that those who had developed peripheral neuropathy with their diabetes also developed heart disease at a higher rate.  Making this connection may be beneficial in providing healthcare providers guidance in identifying individuals who may require more intensive care.  For example, since there appears to be a link with neuropathy and heart disease, special attention must be paid to patients who  exhibit signs of neuropathy to evaluate them for heart disease and be aggressive in controlling blood glucose and cholesterol in an attempt to reduce their risk.

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