Peripheral Vascular Disease and Peripheral Neuropathy in Individuals With Cardiometabolic Clustering and Obesity

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2004

  1. Steven Heeringa, PHD2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  2. 2Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  1. Corresponding author: MaryFran Sowers, mfsowers{at}


OBJECTIVE Two lower-extremity diseases (LEDs), including peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease (PVD), are leading causes of disability in the U.S. Although LEDs can be complications of diabetes, their prevelances and risk factors apart from diabetes are poorly described. This study describes the prevalence of LEDs and examines the association of obesity and cardiometabolic clustering in a population-based sample.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Adults aged ≥40 years (n = 2,514) were evaluated in the 2001–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for clustering of two or more cardiometabolic characteristics, including elevated triglycerides or plasma glucose, low HDL cholesterol levels, increased waist circumference, or hypertension. Clustering was combined with BMI (dichotomized at ≥30 kg/m2) to generate three groups: obese (with or without clustering); nonobese with clustering; and nonobese without clustering. Multivariate logistic regression procedures incorporated the complex survey sampling design.

RESULTS Overall, 9.0% of individuals had peripheral neuropathy alone, 8.5% had PVD alone, and 2.4% had both LEDs. The obese group was more likely to have peripheral neuropathy (odds ratio 2.20 [95% CI 1.43–3.39]), PVD (3.10 [1.84–5.22]), and both LEDs (6.91 [2.64–18.06]) compared with nonobese subjects without clustering. Within the nonobese group, clustering increased the odds of peripheral neuropathy (1.50 [1.00–2.25]) and PVD (2.48 [1.38–4.44]) compared with no clustering.

CONCLUSIONS Obesity and clustering markedly increased the likelihood of LEDs in this sample and identified a group for whom preventive activities may reduce the risk of future disability.

  • Received November 15, 2010.
  • Accepted April 5, 2011.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 34 no. 7 1642-1647
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