The numbers are staggering — 25.8 million people, representing 8.3 percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s one in every 12 people, and the numbers may have soared even higher since these statistics were gathered.
For those living with the disease, preventing and treating complications associated with diabetes is critical.
One serious complication is diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), which affects 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes. Since those with DPN don’t generally experience symptoms at first, it often goes undiagnosed until the condition worsens.
“If left untreated, diabetic neuropathies can cause disabling chronic pain, increase the risk of falling in the elderly and trigger foot ulcers that may even require amputation,” warns Shai Gozani, CEO of NeuroMetrix, a medical device company that develops home use and point-of-care devices for the treatment and management of diabetic neuropathies.
The American Diabetes Association recommends getting an annual screening to detect DPN before it leads to Painful Diabetic Neuropathy (PDN). Ask your doctor about a new fast and accurate test, DPNCheck, which may aid in the early detection and confirmation of DPN.
“With proper, early clinical intervention, more positive outcomes are possible,” says Gozani.
Unfortunately, despite best efforts, many people with diabetes will develop PDN and require additional therapy.
“Staying on top of symptoms and their causes is important for early diagnosis and prompt treatment of PDN,” says Gozani.
Gozani advises those living with diabetes who are wondering if they have PDN to ask themselves if they have any of these symptoms: Burning, stabbing or shooting pain in your feet or legs; Pain when you walk, as though you are walking barefoot on marbles or hot sand; A persistent achy feeling in your feet; Pain in your feet or legs that makes falling asleep and waking up difficult; or Pain in your feet or legs that makes you depressed or anxious.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your health care provider to get a proper diagnosis. Your doctor may prescribe medications that can help control the pain.
Be sure to ask your health care provider about emerging chronic pain relief options, which provide non-narcotic, non-addictive complements to pain medications. These include the SENSUS Pain Management System, an electrical nerve stimulator that is lightweight, wearable under clothing and the first of its kind to be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to be used during sleep. Since many patients with PDN report trouble falling and staying asleep, a fast acting treatment that can be worn during sleep is a much needed solution.
More information about early detection of DPN and safely treating PDN can be found at www.NeuroMetrix.com.
Don’t ignore the potential complications of diabetes and don’t wait until you’re experiencing symptoms. Early detection and subsequent treatment can help you manage conditions that can be debilitating and painful.