OBJECTIVES: Metabolic disease affect all systems in the body, including the peripheral nervous system, but there is a controversy as whether to consider hyperlipidemia is a cause of peripheral neuropathy. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether hyperlipidemic subjects with no clinical symptom or sign of peripheral neuropathy showed nerve conduction abnormalities or subclinical peripheral neuropathy according to the universally accepted electrophysiological criteria.
METHODS: The study group consisted from 29 female and 16 male patients (mean age: 47±7) while the control group consisted from 22 female and 10 male healthy volunteer subjects with a mean age of (43±9). All participants underwent an electrographic study in the classical manner described in the literature. Median and ulnar nerves in one upper, peroneal posterior tibial and sural nerves were studied in both lower extremities.
RESULTS: Median nerve 2nd digit-wrist segment sensory nerve conduction velocity were slow and sensory nerve action potential amplitude (SNAP) were low relative to controls. Sural nerve sensory nerve conduction velocity in the lower extremities were low relative to controls.
DISCUSSION: In this study the hyperlipemic group consisted from subjects with a relatively young age and with not very high serum lipid levels. Finding abnormal nerve conduction in distal sensory nerves in both upper and lower extremities in these hyperlipidemic patients made us think that; aging or uncontrolled hyperlipidemia may make these subjects susceptible to generalized peripheral neuropathy in the future.
CONCLUSION: Hyperlipidemia may affect nerve conduction in peripheral nerves and precede peripheral neuropathy.