Sunday, 27 March 2016

Neuropathy: The Invisible Disease

Today's post from (see link below) is once again aimed at the diabetic community when in fact the subject matter applies to everybody living with neuropathy. It also concentrates on the African-American and Hispanic-American communities living with neuropathy but in this case, it is to correctly highlight the fact that some communities have more problems finding the right information and treatment than others. In fact, the lack of awareness of neuropathy and its impact on society is a universal problem but certain groups are hit harder for whatever reasons that may be. Neuropathy has been invisible to the general population for ever and for some reason, despite the staggering numbers of people who have neuropathy, it remains a disease that most people have never heard of, never mind understand what the symptoms and treatment are. It's high time that this problem was solved and high time that neuropathy received the publicity its suffering deserves.

Survey Reveals Lack of Awareness About Diabetic Nerve Pain
by Carolina Henriques March 14, 2016

Pfizer, a 150-year-old global pharmaceutical company, collaborated with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to conduct a joint multicultural survey called Community Health Perspectives.

The survey was sponsored and conducted by Pfizer and the ADA — whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes — from August to October 2015. A total of 1,000 adults who had been diagnosed with diabetes and experienced symptoms of diabetic nerve pain too party in the survey: 823 non-Hispanic whites, 73 African-Americans, 70 Hispanic-Americans, and 34 respondents of other ethnic backgrounds.

Additionally, 452 African-American and 823 Hispanic-American healthy adults were surveyed as controls, adding up to a total sample size of 1,919 participants. A sample of 308 healthcare providers was also surveyed.

The survey found considerable gaps in awareness, diagnosis and management of a serious complication related to diabetes known as painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or diabetic nerve pain. The African-American and Hispanic-American communities experienced the most pronounced diabetic nerve pain symptoms, including burning sensations or shooting pain in their hands and feet.

The Community Health Perspectives survey was conducted to support the program Step On Up, which educates people about diabetic nerve pain and encourages them to speak with their healthcare providers.

“I got involved with Step On Up because I saw firsthand how the pain impacted my father, who has type 2 diabetes and diabetic nerve pain. Results from this survey show he’s not alone, especially in the African-American community,” said actor and comedian Cedric the Entertainer in a Pfizer press release. “Nearly half of African-Americans surveyed had not talked to a healthcare provider about their nerve pain in the feet or hands. I want to encourage people experiencing symptoms of diabetic nerve pain to take action and speak with a doctor about their pain.”

Community Health Perspectives results, combining African-American and Hispanic-American samples, found that:

Answers from African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans indicated that more than 50 percent had not been diagnosed with the condition;

More than 50 percent of African-Americans surveyed said the nerve pain in their feet and hands had a significant impact on their daily lives, more than any other diabetes symptom;

Eighty percent of African-Americans and 74 percent of Hispanic-Americans were less likely than non-Hispanic whites (97 percent) to agree that nerve pain is a common complication of diabetes;

Of the African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans surveyed who had talked about their nerve pain symptoms with doctors and were diagnosed with the condition, the majority wished they had done so sooner (80 percent and 85 percent, respectively).

“Diabetes-related complications are common and debilitating, and 7 out of 10 general respondents diagnosed with diabetic nerve pain said that their nerve pain makes them feel like they are not successfully managing their diabetes,” said ADA Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Community Affairs Jane Chiang, M.D.

“Community Health Perspectives confirms the need for ongoing education to motivate more people living with diabetes and symptoms of diabetic nerve pain to visit their doctor and seek some pain relief,” Chiang said.

Carolina holds a BSc in Anthropology and a MSc in Urban Studies., and brings her interdisciplinary skills to her writing on a range of different topics in science, research and advocacy news.

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