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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1997 Jan;34(3):169-79.

Autonomic neuropathy and cardiovascular risk factors in insulin-dependent and non insulin-dependent diabetes.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Tor Vergata University, Complesso Integrato Columbus, Rome, Italy.


In 97 IDDM and 64 NIDDM patients aged under 65 years, we evaluated the relationship between autonomic neuropathy (AN) and retinopathy, nephropathy, glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors. Diabetes duration and HbA1 were significantly higher and body mass index was significantly lower in IDDM patients with AN compared to those without. In NIDDM only age was significantly higher in neuropathic patients. AN was associated with retinopathy in both IDDM (chi2 = 10, P < 0.03) and NIDDM patients (chi2 = 14, P < 0.007), while only in IDDM albumin excretion was significantly higher in patients with AN. Blood pressure (BP) was significantly higher in both IDDM and NIDDM patients with AN compared to those without. There were no differences in smoking and serum lipids between patients with and those without AN. We performed a multiple regression analysis using autonomic score, index of cardiovascular tests impairment, as the dependent variable and age, diabetes duration, body mass index, HbA1, albumin excretion, cholesterolemia, triglyceridemia, systolic BP, and retinopathy as independent variables. With this model in IDDM autonomic score was only related to body mass index (r = -0.29, P < 0.05), to HbA1 (r = 0.46, P < 0.001), and to systolic BP (r = 0.24, P < 0.05), while in NIDDM it was only related to systolic BP (r = 0.54, P < 0.001). In conclusion, AN was related to age in NIDDM, and to diabetes duration and glycemic control in IDDM. AN was associated with retinopathy, with nephropathy (only in IDDM), and with BP levels, but not with dyslipidemia, smoking, or obesity. Excess mortality rate observed in diabetic AN cannot be referred to an association with cardiovascular risk factors.

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