Call for awareness on peripheral neuropathy

With peripheral neuropathy (PN) on the rise in India, there is a need to educate physicians and patients about the condition, in which nerves in the body are affected or damaged, experts have said.

A. V. Srinivasan, emeritus professor, Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, said, “In India, a significant number of PN cases go under-diagnosed by physicians because of negligence or lack of awareness amongst patients.”

Dr. Srinivasan added that poor understanding of the disease in terms of its causes, diagnosis and fatal complications was a major hurdle. “Despite therapeutic advancements in the field, owing to the insidious nature of this disease and lack of guidelines and consensus among physicians, treatment gets compromised,” he said.

He was speaking at the second edition of the Merck Nerve Care Forum was held on Friday to discuss the management of PN. Various community studies have revealed that the overall prevalence varies from 5 to 2,400 per 10,000 population. The older population is affected more when compared to the younger due to higher prevalence of other diseases, medication intake, and age-related complications.

Wilfred Nix, director of the Academy of Continuing Medical Education, Germany, highlighted the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. “PN poses a high disease burden in India as compared to developed countries, owing to higher prevalence of diabetes cases, nutritional deficiencies, infectious diseases, alcohol misuse and exposure to toxins,” he said.

Muthu Kumaran Jayapaul, senior consultant endocrinologist, added that it was crucial to raise awareness of the disease to ensure a better quality of life. “In India, PN affects 50 to 70% of all diabetic patients. Therefore, it is crucial to raise awareness of timely diagnosis amongst the diabetic population to save lives.”

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