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J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2012 May;17 Suppl 2:15-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8027.2012.00390.x.

Impaired glucose tolerance and metabolic syndrome in idiopathic neuropathy.

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Division of Neuromuscular Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.


Idiopathic neuropathy is one of the most common clinical problems encountered in general medical and neurological practices, accounting for up to 40% of all neuropathies in referral series. Several groups have reported an elevated prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in idiopathic neuropathy subjects, although the only carefully conducted case-control study suggested hypertriglyceridemia was a more important risk factor. The nature of the relationship between IGT and neuropathy is a subject of active debate. An evolving literature suggests metabolic syndrome, particularly dyslipidemia and obesity, are potent neuropathy risk factors for both idiopathic and diabetic neuropathy patients. Once established, diabetic neuropathy is likely to be very difficult to reverse. IGT-associated neuropathy, however, may be more amenable to therapy and could represent an ideal population in which to examine potential therapies for diabetes and obesity related neuropathies. Further research is needed to better define the epidemiological relation between IGT, metabolic syndrome, and neuropathy, its underlying pathophysiology, and to develop appropriate surrogate measures and clinical trials strategies.

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