OBJECTIVE: To investigate risk factors for diabetic peripheral polyneuropathy and their correlation with the quantified severity of nerve dysfunction in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). METHODS: A total of 187 diabetic patients with clinically suspected polyneuropathy (PN) were subclassified into 2 groups according to electrodiagnostic testing: a DM-PN group of 153 diabetic patients without electrophysiological abnormality and a DM+PN group of 34 diabetic patients with polyneuropathy. For all patients, age, sex, height, weight, duration of DM, and plasma glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level were comparatively investigated. A composite score was introduced to quantitatively analyze the results of the nerve conduction studies. Logistic regression analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to evaluate correlations between significant risk factors and severity of diabetic polyneuropathy. RESULTS: The DM+PN group showed a significantly higher HbA1c level and composite score, as compared with the DM-PN group. Increased HbA1c level and old age were significant predictive factors for polyneuropathy in diabetic patients (odds ratio=5.233 and 4.745, respectively). In the multiple linear regression model, HbA1c and age showed a significant positive association with composite score, in order (β=1.560 and 0.253, respectively). CONCLUSION: Increased HbA1c level indicative of a state of chronic hyperglycemia was a risk factor for polyneuropathy in diabetic patients and a quantitative measure of its severity.