Prevalence of diabetic peripheral neuropathy and its relation to glycaemic control and potential risk factors: the EURODIAB IDDM Complications Study

Diabetologia. 1996 Nov;39(11):1377-84. doi: 10.1007/s001250050586.


The EURODIAB IDDM Complications Study involved the examination of 3250 randomly selected insulin-dependent diabetic patients, from 31 centres in 16 European countries. Part of the examination included an assessment of neurological function including neuropathic symptoms and physical signs, vibration perception threshold, tests of autonomic function and the prevalence of impotence. The prevalence of diabetic neuropathy across Europe was 28% with no significant geographical differences. Significant correlations were observed between the presence of diabetic peripheral neuropathy with age (p < 0.05), duration of diabetes (p < 0.001), quality of metabolic control (p < 0.001), height (p < 0.01), the presence of background or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (p < 0.01), cigarette smoking (p < 0.001), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p < 0.001) and the presence of cardiovascular disease (p < 0.05), thus confirming previous associations. New associations have been identified from this study - namely with elevated diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.05), the presence of severe ketoacidosis (p < 0.001), an increase in the levels of fasting triglyceride (p < 0.001), and the presence of microalbuminuria (p < 0.01). All the data were adjusted for age, duration of diabetes and HbA1c. Although alcohol intake correlated with absence of leg reflexes and autonomic dysfunction, there was no overall association of alcohol consumption and neuropathy. The reported problems of impotence were extremely variable between centres, suggesting many cultural and attitudinal differences in the collection of such information in different European countries. In conclusion, this study has identified previously known and new potential risk factors for the development of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking


  • Lipids