Does prediabetes cause small fiber sensory polyneuropathy? Does it matter?

C. D. Kassardjian, P. James B Dyck, J. L. Davies, Rickey E. Carter, Peter J Dyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: The association between prediabetes and distal polyneuropathy (DPN) remains controversial. Here we test whether the prevalence of small fiber sensory distal polyneuropathy is increased in prediabetes. Methods: Prospectively recruited cohorts of healthy subjects and those with prediabetes from Olmsted County, Minnesota, were assessed for positive neuropathic sensory symptoms, or pain symptoms characteristic of small fiber sensory DPN. Hyperalgesia and hypoalgesia were assessed by "smart" quantitative sensation testing (QST). The prevalence of symptoms and QST abnormalities were compared among the groups. Results: There was no significant increase in the prevalence of positive neuropathic sensory or pain symptoms, nor of hyper- or hypoalgesia in the prediabetes group. There was an increased prevalence of hypoalgesia of the foot only in newly diagnosed diabetes. Conclusions: Based on positive sensory and pain symptoms and QSTs, we did not find an increase in small fiber sensory DPN in prediabetes. Recognizing that obesity and diabetes mellitus are implicated in macro- and microvessel complications, physicians should encourage healthy living and weight loss in patients with prediabetes. In medical practice, alternate causes should be excluded before concluding that small fiber sensory distal neuropathy is secondary to prediabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StateAccepted/In press - Oct 20 2014


  • Diabetes mellitus (DM)
  • Distal polyneuropathy (DPN)
  • Prediabetes
  • Small fiber sensory DPN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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