(HealthDay News) — Distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSP) prevalence increases with an increasing number of components of metabolic syndrome, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Brian C. Callaghan, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues determined the prevalence of symptomatic DSP in the prospective Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, stratified by glycemic status and the number of additional metabolic syndrome components. DSP was defined as neuropathic symptoms plus 1 or more of 3 confirmatory tests (heavy monofilament, peroneal conduction velocity, and vibration threshold).

The researchers found that 21.0% of the 2382 participants with neuropathy measures had diabetes, 29.9% had prediabetes, 52.8% had metabolic syndrome, and 11.1% had DSP. Stratified by glycemic status, as the number of components of metabolic syndrome increased there was an increase in DSP prevalence (P=.03). The only metabolic syndrome measures significantly associated with DSP were diabetes (cross-sectional model: odds ratio, 1.65) and baseline HbA1c (longitudinal model: odds ratio, 1.42). 

Significant associations with multiple secondary neuropathy outcomes were seen for waist circumference and HDL cholesterol.

“Independent of glycemic status, symptomatic DSP is more common in those with additional metabolic syndrome components,” the researchers wrote. “However, the issue of which metabolic syndrome components drive this association, in addition to hyperglycemia, remains unclear.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.


  1. Callaghan BC, Xia R, Banerjee M, et al. Metabolic Syndrome Components Are Associated With Symptomatic Polyneuropathy Independent of Glycemic Status. Diabetes Care. 2016. doi:10.2337/dc16-0081.