To test the hypothesis that microalbuminuria may show an independent statistical association with diabetic neuropathy.

Research Design and Methods

An observational study of a prospectively identified cohort was conducted at the University Medical Center. The cohort consisted of 78 consecutive diabetic patients who fulfilled the criteria of having diabetes for >10 yr, a normal serum creatinine, urine negative for macroalbuminuria by a commonly used dipstick method, a blood glucose <13.8 mM (<250 mg/dl), and an HbA1 <11% (normal range 5.5–8.5%). Medical record review established the presence of chronic complications of diabetes. Urine albumin level was measured by radioimmunoassay. Albumin concn ≥15 mg/L was used as a cutoff value for microalbuminuria.


Twenty-five of 78 patients (32%) showed microalbuminuria. Of these, 51% had neuropathy, 39% had retinopathy, 35% arterial hypertension, 17% peripheral vascular disease, and 15% ischemic heart disease. After adjusting for age, sex, and type and duration of diabetes, diabetic neuropathy and hypertension showed a significant association with microalbuminuria. After adjusting for other diabetic complications, diabetic neuropathy showed a significant association with microalbuminuria.


Microalbuminuria is independently associated with diabetic neuropathy. This association lends support to the theory of a vascular etiology for diabetic distal symmetrical neuropathy.

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