This article provides an up-to-date review of the manifestations of neuropathy seen in the setting of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Although a number of metabolic disorders cause or are associated with peripheral neuropathy, the neuropathies associated with glucose dysregulation make up the vast majority of cases. Recent investigations have determined major differences in the neuropathies associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Neuropathy in type 1 diabetes is closely linked to glycemic control, whereas neuropathy in type 2 diabetes is linked to dyslipidemia, central obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, and glucose control. Although length-dependent axonal distal symmetric polyneuropathy is the most common clinical presentation, diabetes is also associated with acute, asymmetric, painless, and autonomic neuropathies.
The prevalence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome is increasing across the globe. The need to recognize and treat the wide array of clinical manifestations of neuropathy detected in individuals with metabolic disorders will continue to grow. As a consequence, an increasing number of well-trained physicians who can manage these patients is needed. At present, treatment is largely focused on prevention and symptomatic management. Investments into funding for both basic and clinical science are necessary to bring novel therapeutic interventions into clinical practice.