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Peripheral neuropathy may be a potential risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetes mellitus
  1. Andriana Margariti
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andriana Margariti, Centre for Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BA, UK; a.margariti{at}

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Emerging evidence indicates that peripheral neuropathy (PN) is associated with occurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events highlighting that information on PN may improve risk prediction for patients with diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is increasing in incidence and results in an approximately twofold higher risk of CVD and almost 7 years of life reduction when compared with individuals in the absence of diabetes. In 1971, the association of diabetes with heart failure was reported for the first time. The high occurrence of diabetes (14% of men and 26% of women) among patients with heart failure was observed,1 while the risk for heart failure in patients with diabetes was increased.

Diabetic neuropathies are additional underlying complications of diabetes, which are characterised as a family of nerve disorders. About 60%–70% of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Patients with diabetes can develop nerve problems at any time, but risk rises with age and longer duration of the disease.2 PN is the most prevalent complication of type 2 diabetes. The 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on lower extremity complications revealed that close to 10% of individuals with diabetes have peripheral arterial disease, but close to 30% have neuropathy.3 Diabetes can cause neuropathy as a result of high blood glucose levels damaging the small blood vessels which supply the nerves, resulting in damage to, or disappearance of, the nerve …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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