Painful diabetic polyneuropathy: epidemiology, pain description, and quality of life

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2000 Feb;47(2):123-8. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8227(99)00112-6.


A prospective survey study was performed in patients with painful diabetic polyneuropathy (PDN) to assess the nature and scope of their pain. Pain associated with diabetic neuropathy is commonly encountered in clinical practice. Yet, little is known regarding the pain experience and impact on quality of life in persons with painful diabetic neuropathy. These 105 patients noted an average of 6/10 pain, most often described as 'burning', 'electric', 'sharp', and 'dull/ache', which, for most, is worse at night time and when tired or stressed. On average, patients reported that the pain caused substantial interference in sleep and enjoyment of life and moderate interference in recreational activities, normal work, mobility, general activity, social activities, and mood. Unexpectedly, a potential genetic predisposition to the development of painful neuropathy was suggested by the fact that a majority (56%) reported a family member with PDN. Thus, this study found that pain associated with diabetic neuropathy is a significant medical issue that has a substantial impact on the quality of life of many people with this condition.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Neuropathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / psychology*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • United States / epidemiology