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Diabetic Neuropathies: Classification, Clinical Features, and Pathophysiological Basis

Sinnreich, Michael MD, PhD*; Taylor, Bruce V. MD; Dyck, P James B. MD*

doi: 10.1097/01.nrl.0000156314.24508.ed
Original Article

Diabetes mellitus is associated with a wide spectrum of neuropathy syndromes, ranging from a mild asymptomatic distal sensory neuropathy to a severe disabling radiculoplexus neuropathy. As the pathophysiology of these separate conditions is better understood, classification of the various phenotypes becomes important because of treatment implications. Here we provide a short summary of the history of the classification of diabetic neuropathies and try to describe the most common forms classified according to their presumed pathophysiology. We have tried to include epidemiological data where available, as well as histopathology of nerve in several diabetic neuropathies.

From the *Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota; and the †Department of Neurology, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Support was provided in part by grants obtained from the National Institute of Neurologic Diseases and Stroke (NINDS 36797) and Mayo Foundation.

Reprints: P. James B. Dyck, MD, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.