THURSDAY, Oct. 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The incidence of small fiber neuropathy (SFN) is increasing and is associated with multiple comorbidities and increased mortality, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in Neurology.

Stephen A. Johnson, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues examined SFN incidence, prevalence, comorbidities, longitudinal impairments, and disabilities in a cohort of test-confirmed patients with SFN matched 3:1 with controls from Jan. 1, 1998, to Dec. 31, 2017. Data were included for 94 patients with SFN.

The researchers found that the incidence of SFN was 1.3/100,000 per year and increased during the study period, while prevalence was 13.3/100,000. Patients with SFN were more likely to be female (67 percent) and obese (mean body mass index, 30.4 versus 28.5 kg/m2) and to have insomnia (86 versus 54 percent), analgesic-opioid prescriptions (72 versus 46 percent), hypertriglyceridemia (180 versus 147 mg/dL), and diabetes mellitus (51 versus 22 percent). Patients with SFN did not identify as disabled (median modified Rankin Score, 1.0 versus 0.0). Compared with controls, patients with SFN had higher Charlson comorbidities (median, 6 versus 3). Myocardial infarction occurred more often in SFN patients (46 versus 27 percent). Large fiber myopathy developed in 36 percent an average of 5.3 years after onset of SFN.

“People with small fiber neuropathy should be screened for heart problems and their blood glucose should be monitored for signs of diabetes,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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