Neuropathy Goes Undiagnosed

Published Online: Friday, July 1, 2005

A study commissioned by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that a majority of patients with diabetes have never heard of diabetic neuropathy—nerve damage that causes pain, numbness, or tingling in the feet and hands. The researchers interviewed 8119 individuals regarding the condition, whether they had any symptoms, and whether they had ever been diagnosed. The researchers discovered that more than 7 of 10 patients with diabetes reported that they had experienced symptoms of the condition in the past year.

Yet, 56% of the participants having symptoms had never heard of diabetic neuropathy. The results of the study also found that nearly 1 in 7 patients with symptoms of neuropathy, who had mentioned it to their physicians, reported that their physicians had not mentioned a potential cause. Furthermore, only 1 in 4 individuals with symptoms had been diagnosed by their physician. The ADA estimates that 50% of individuals with diabetes will develop neuropathy.

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