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Neurology. 2011 Oct 18;77(16):1538-42. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318233b356. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Meralgia paresthetica: relation to obesity, advanced age, and diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Graduate Medicine, Mayo Medical School, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



To determine the incidence of meralgia paresthetica (MP) and its relationship to diabetes mellitus (DM) and obesity.


A population-based study was performed within Olmstead County Minnesota, from January 1, 1990, to December 31, 1999. MP incidence and its association with age, gender, body mass index (BMI), and DM were reviewed.


A total of 262 patients with MP, 262 normal controls, and 262 BMI-matched normal controls with mean age of 50 years were identified (51% men). The age- and sex-adjusted incidence of MP was 32.6 per 100,000 patient years, whereas the incidence of MP in people with DM was 247 per 100,000 patient years, 7 times the occurrence of MP in the general population. Of the patients with MP, 28% had DM vs 17% of BMI-matched controls and the majority of people with MP developed DM after the diagnosis of MP. Patients with MP are 2 times more likely to develop DM (odds ratio 2, 95% confidence interval 1.3-3.0, p = 0.0027). The mean BMI of patients with MP (30.1 kg/m(2), obese class I) was significantly higher than that of age- and gender-matched controls (27.3 kg/m(2), overweight). MP incidence increased 12.9 per 100,000 patient years in the hemidecade study period with an associated increase in both BMI (2.2 kg/m(2)) and average age (3 years).


MP is a frequent painful neuropathy associated with obesity, advancing age, and DM. The incidence rate of MP is predicted to increase as these demographics increase in world populations. Because MP associates with DM beyond weight- and age-matched controls, more aggressive counseling of these patients in prevention of DM may be warranted.

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