MANILA – Diabetes is the main cause of peripheral neuropathy, a condition defined by nerve damage outside the brain and spinal cord, in the globe.
Dr. Rayaz Malik, consultant physician at Central Manchester University Teaching Hospital, stated during the “Winning the Fight Against Neuropathy in Diabetic Patients” forum on Nov. 10 that peripheral neuropathy is severely underdiagnosed in South-East Asia and the Middle East due to a lack of consensus guidance on routine screening and diagnostic pathways.
“This has a significant impact on quality of life due to painful neuropathic symptoms, foot ulceration, and amputation, with associated five-year mortality rates of 40% and 80%, respectively,” said Malik, who is also a professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.
“Awareness and a sense of urgency are required among patients and healthcare providers, and primary care physicians require simple tools and guidance to assist them in diagnosing peripheral neuropathy,” he added.
In response, P&G Health Medical & Technical Affairs Senior Director Dr. Ashley Barlow stated that the company is committed to continuing efforts to raise awareness about diabetes and its complications, such as peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage.
“The scientific forums rolled out by P&G Health across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa region provide insights, data, and clinical practice guidelines from health experts worldwide on the role of neuropathy diagnoses, treatment, and management to improve the quality of life of diabetic patients,” he added.
One in every two diabetic people develops peripheral neuropathy during their lives.
With the rising prevalence of diabetes, the number of patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy in these areas will skyrocket.
Diabetes neuropathy was found to be prevalent in 42 percent of 2,708 patients tested in Diabcare-Asia project diabetic facilities in the Philippines in 2000.
Meanwhile, Malik stated that early detection of peripheral neuropathy in patients does not necessitate the use of complicated diagnostic equipment.
“Simple tools, such as a questionnaire and a sensory test, can be a good place to start.” We can help patients avoid severe consequences and improve their quality of life by asking the proper questions and listening to them,” he said.
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms include burning and stabbing pain in the feet and hands, which can interfere with daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and sleeping.
Aside from diabetes, B vitamin deficiencies and aging are two other risk factors for peripheral nerve damage.