Neuropathies are amongst the most common of the long-term complications of diabetes, affecting up to 50% of patients. Their clinical features vary immensely and patients may present with a wide spectrum of specialties, from neurology to urology, for example, or from cardiology to podiatry. Neuropathies are typically characterized by a progressive loss of nerve fibres which may affect both of the principal divisions of the peripheral nervous system. The epidemiology and natural history of the diabetic neuropathies remain poorly defined. The International Consensus Workshop in Toronto in 2009 arose from the fact that at the moment there are no clear, universally accepted guidelines regarding the definition of diabetic neuropathies. This has resulted in a massive variation in how neuropathy is diagnosed in different centres and countries. A preliminary summary report of the Toronto meeting was published in 2010. The series of papers published in this issue of Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews are the detailed reports that came from each sub-group of this Consensus panel. These reviews cover the problems with definitions and classification of neuropathy, the management of painful neuropathy and then the sub-group of small fibre neuropathies. There are also 3 papers on the autonomic neuropathies, covering cardiovascular autonomic neuropathies, as well as other areas of the autonomic neuropathies including gastrointestinal, urogenital and pseudomotor neuropathies. This series of papers will give the reader detailed information on the diverse aspects of diabetic neuropathies, their measurement and management, and will also assist in the selection of appropriate measures of both autonomic and somatic nerve function in clinical trials. This is clearly work in progress as diagnostic criteria for diabetic neuropathies are likely to evolve with developments in the field.
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.