It is estimated that as many as 60% of people with diabetes will go on to develop some degree of peripheral neuropathy. What has been less well understood is what other risk factors play a role in which diabetic patients will or will not develop nerve problems. A 2012 study in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggested that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may independently predict the coexistence of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The study involved 234 patients with type 2 diabetes. 65% of the patients were diagnosed with OSA. Of the patients with OSA, 60% had peripheral neuropathy, compared to 27% of the patients without OSA.
The study also showed that the severity of OSA symptoms correlated with the severity of neuropathic symptoms. Patients with OSA had a significantly higher prevalence of foot insensitivity (50% versus 15%), skin hypersensitivity (33% versus 13%), and a prior open sore on foot (27% versus 7%).
Patients with sleep apnea tended to be older, have a longer diabetes duration, have higher systolic blood pressure, were more likely obese, and exhibited higher levels of sleepiness on a validated scale. When adjustments were made for these confounding factors, the evidence still demonstrated that OSA had an independent association with neuropathy.
Other independent predictors of neuropathy were waist circumference, insulin use, and diabetes duration.
In order to develop clinical recommendations, further studies on the impact of OSA and its treatment on peripheral neuropathy development and progression in patients with type 2 diabetes are needed. However, this study does point to another risk factor that should be considered.
At US Neuropathy Centers, our medical experts make sure that all factors that may be contributing to your symptoms are taken into account. No matter the stage or progression of your symptoms, our specialists will work with you to design the most effective treatment for your needs. Find one of our locations atwww.usneuropathycenters.com.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
@US Neuropathy Centers, 2018