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Braz J Med Biol Res. 1995 Jul;28(7):751-7.

Relationship between the degree of cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction and symptoms of neuropathy and other complications of diabetes mellitus.

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Serviço de Endocrinologia, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.


A cross-sectional study was designed to identify a relationship between the presence of symptoms usually related to nervous system involvement as well as other chronic complications of diabetes with three objectively defined degrees of autonomic neuropathy (AN). Symptoms usually related to peripheral sensitive neuropathy and AN were assessed using a questionnaire applied to 132 diabetics (38 IDDM and 94 NIDDM), 65 without and 67 with AN. AN was classified as follows according to 5 cardiovascular autonomic tests described by Ewing: 1) early involvement-1 abnormal test (N = 27); 2) definite involvement-2 or 3 abnormal tests (N = 26); 3) severe involvement-4 or 5 abnormal tests (N = 14). A statistically significant association was observed between degree of autonomic involvement and the presence of the following symptoms: dizziness on standing, dysphagia, vomiting, diarrhea, fecal incontinence, gustatory sweating, urinary retention, numbness and hyperesthesia of the feet or legs. Constipation and cystitis were not significantly related to cardiovascular AN. Only 3% of the patients without neuropathy and with early involvement had four or more than four of the symptoms. The prevalence of proliferative retinopathy and nephropathy was increased among patients with more severe degrees of AN. For IDDM patients there was a positive correlation between the degree of cardiovascular AN and the duration of diabetes. We conclude that: 1) severe cardiovascular AN is usually related to 4 or more of the evaluated symptoms and those patients usually have the other complications of diabetes; 2) severe AN could be a risk factor or an indicator of the same underlying process that determines the beginning of proliferative retinopathy and/or nephropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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