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Older people with diabetes and low vitamin D at higher risk of peripheral neuropathy

Care of Older People – January 2020 digest  

Study finds low vitamin D levels to be associated with peripheral neuropathy in older people with diabetes.

Niu Y, Li J, Peng R et al (2019) Low vitamin D is associated with diabetes peripheral neuropathy in older but no in young and middle-aged patients. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 35: e3162

  • Over half of individuals with diabetes experience peripheral neuropathy. Recent studies have suggested that low levels of vitamin D may be associated with an increased risk of developing this complication, however their findings have been inconsistent. 
  • Investigators performed a cross-sectional study including almost 1,500 patients to determine whether the relationship between vitamin D level and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) was associated with patient age.  
  • Almost a third of participants had DPN. These individuals had lower levels of vitamin D than participants who did not have DPN.
  • The proportion of participants with DPN increased with age: 12.6% of young patients (24–44 years), 33.6% of middle-aged patients (45–64 years) and 36% of older patients (³65 years).
  • Following multivariate logistic regression, low vitamin D level was found to be a risk factor for DPN in older individuals but not young or middle-aged patients.
  • Investigators concluded that low vitamin D level was associated with DPN in people aged over 65 years and suggested it be used as a predictor of this complication in older people with diabetes. 

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