High prevalence of undisclosed neuropathy in diabetic patients
A survey of 25,000 Romanians with diabetes has revealed that diabetic neuropathy (DN), a complication of diabetes, is highly prevalent in these patients, even in the absence of a diagnostic, and has an important impact on patients' quality of life.
Almost two thirds of the patients answered "yes" to the question "Do you have neuropathy?", and more than half of the patients that answered "no" had total quality of life (QoL) scores suggesting the presence of DN. Furthermore, 3,150 patients (14.8%) reported at least one episode of ulceration (wounds), gangrene or amputation, severe complications of DN.
DN (peripheral, autonomic, and cranial nerve disorders that are associated with diabetes mellitus) and its complications are associated with poor QoL due to reduced physical (altered effort capabilities), social (isolation), and emotional functioning (anxiety and depression) that may influence the perception of symptoms. These results are important because they show not only a very high prevalence of DN in Romanian diabetics, but also a very large proportion of possible undiagnosed or undisclosed cases of DN in known diabetics. This is the largest study evaluating the prevalence of diabetic neuropathy in patients with self-reported diabetes in Romania, and probably worldwide.
The most important implication is for medical practitioners, to actively prevent, and search for DN in diabetic patients. Early recognition of the condition has been proven to increase QoL and to delay (if not avoid) the progress of the most severe complications of the disease.