Older Subjects With Diabetes and Prediabetes Are Frequently Unaware of Having Distal Sensorimotor Polyneuropathy: The KORA F4 Study
OBJECTIVE Distal sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN) is a severe complication of type 2 diabetes. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of unawareness of DSPN in prediabetes and diabetes in a sample of the older population of Augsburg, Germany.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Glucose tolerance status was determined in 61- to 82-year-old participants of the population-based KORA F4 Study (2006–2008) (n = 1,100). Clinical DSPN was defined as the presence of bilaterally impaired foot-vibration perception and/or bilaterally impaired foot-pressure sensation. DSPN case subjects were considered unaware of their condition when answering “no” to the question, “Has a physician ever told you that you are suffering from nerve damage, neuropathy, polyneuropathy, or diabetic foot?”RESULTS Clinical DSPN was prevalent in 154 (14%) participants, 140 of whom were unaware of their disorder. At a prevalence of 23.9% (95% CI 12.6–38.8), participants with combined impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance had the highest prevalence of DSPN. Of these, 10 of 11 (91%) were unaware of having clinical DSPN. Participants with known diabetes had an equally high prevalence of DSPN [22.0% (16.2–28.9)], with 30 of the 39 (77%) DSPN case subjects unaware of having the disorder. Among subjects with known diabetes who reported to have had their feet examined by a physician, 18 of 25 (72%) clinical DSPN case subjects emerged unaware of having DSPN.CONCLUSIONS Our findings showed a high prevalence of unawareness of having clinical DSPN among the prediabetic and diabetic groups and an insufficient frequency of professional foot examinations, suggesting inadequate attention to diabetic foot prevention practice.