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Survey Reveals Lack of Awareness About Diabetic Nerve Pain

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Survey Reveals Lack of Awareness About Diabetic Nerve Pain
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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.

shutterstock_261119867“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.

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