Objective: To test the applicability of a bedside scoring method for screening for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) in an ambulatory clinic. The prevalence of DPN was estimated and its risk factors identified. Methods: A total of 217 patients (102 males) with type 1 DM, median age 23.4 years (7.5-49 years) and median duration of DM 13.2 years (1-34 years) were evaluated for DPN using the bedside Neuropathy Disability Score (NDS). A score of 3-5 indicated mild DPN, 6-8 moderate DPN and 9-10 severe DPN. The presence of DPN was correlated with possible predictive factors. Results: The NDS was reliable and highly reproducible. The overall prevalence of DPN was 17.1%: mild in 14.3%, moderate in 2.3%, and severe in 0.5% of patients. The prevalence and severity of DPN were significantly related to long-term glycemic control (p <0.001), DM duration (p <0.005), age (p = 0.005), and duration of pubertal DM duration (p = 0.03). The prevalence of DPN was significantly associated with the presence of retinopathy (p <0.002) and overt proteinuria (p <0.005). Conclusions: The NDS is a simple, reliable and reproducible screening method for use in the ambulatory clinic to identify the early signs of DPN, leading to early institution of intensive diabetes control measures and preventive foot care.
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
- Neuropathy disability score
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus