June 18, 2019
2 min read

Women twice as likely to report neuropathic pain in type 2 diabetes

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Women with type 2 diabetes were 2.4 times more likely to report neuropathic pain than men, regardless of vitamin D status, according to findings from a cross-sectional study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

Mohammad Alkhatatbeh

“There was increased evidence in the literature suggesting that vitamin D deficiency could be associated with the development of neuropathy in type 2 diabetes,” Mohammad Alkhatatbeh, PhD, of the clinical pharmacy department, faculty of pharmacy, Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan, told Endocrine Today. “Our study found no significant association between serum vitamin D levels and neuropathic pain in patients with type 2 diabetes. Instead, neuropathic pain was significantly associated with female sex, suggesting that women with type 2 diabetes could be more susceptible to neuropathic pain compared with men.”

Alkhatatbeh and colleagues analyzed data from 239 adults with type 2 diabetes recruited from the outpatient endocrine clinic of King Abdullah University Hospital in Ramtha, Jordan, in 2017 (mean age, 56 years; 58.6% women; median diabetes duration, 6 years; median HbA1c, 7.75%). Participants completed the PainDETECT questionnaire, which is a scale from 0 to 38 to detect neuropathic pain (scores > 19 considered as having neuropathic pain). Researchers measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, fasting blood glucose and HbA1c.

Within the cohort, 26.8% of patients reported a prevalence of neuropathic pain (mean PainDETECT score, 13.29) and 67.8% of patients had vitamin D deficiency (median serum 25-[OH]D level, 14.77 ng/mL).

The neuropathy score for women was higher than that for men, according to researchers (P < .01). There were no between-group differences in serum vitamin D measurements when comparing neuropathy status or men vs. women (P > .05).

Using ordinal logistic regression analysis, researchers found that female sex was the only significant predictor of neuropathic pain among patients with type 2 diabetes (OR = 2.45; 95% CI, 1.29-4.67).

“Although there is a similarity between some symptoms of peripheral diabetic neuropathy and vitamin D deficiency, it seems that vitamin D deficiency could not be implicated in the development of peripheral diabetic neuropathy,” Alkhatatbeh said. “Our findings also suggest that women with type 2 diabetes should receive more attention regarding peripheral diabetic neuropathy.”

Alkhatatbeh said researchers should reconsider the association between vitamin D deficiency and neuropathic pain according to the method used for neuropathy determination.

“Further research could also be performed to confirm the association between neuropathic pain and sex in patients with type 2 diabetes,” he said. – by Regina Schaffer

For more information:

Mohammad Alkhatatbeh, PhD, can be reached at Jordan University of Science and Technology, Clinical Pharmacy Department, Ar Ramtha 3030, Ramtha, Jordan; email: khatatbeh@just.edu.jo.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.