To determine if physical activity and/or blood glycohemoglobin (HbA1c) are associated with the prevalence of peripheral neuropathy (PN) in a representative population of diabetics. Three hundred thirty-nine diabetic participants (40-85 yrs) taking part in 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were studied. Participants were defined as having peripheral neuropathy if examination determined ≥ 1 insensate area in either foot. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was objectively-measured using accelerometry. After adjustments, MVPA was not significantly associated with PN (OR = 1.16; 95% CI: 0.48-2.78), nor was HbA1c (OR = 0.55; 95% CI: 0.28-1.04). However, there was evidence of statistical interaction (OR = 0.24; 95% CI: 0.06-0.87) between MVPA and HbA1c status, showing that diabetics engaging in higher levels of MVPA and having normal HgbA1c levels were less likely to have PN than what would be expected based on the individual effects of MVPA and HbA1c alone. Although MVPA was not directly associated with PN, these findings suggest that proper physical activity, coupled with good glycemic control, is associated with less neuropathy. Future longitudinal studies are required to evaluate whether physical activity and improved glycemic control may help prevent or slow the progression of diabetic end-organ damage, particularly diabetic neuropathy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism