The 2nd edition of ‘Merck Nerve Care Forum’ was held to discuss about the management of Peripheral Neuropathy (PN), a condition in which the nerves in the body are affected or damaged.
In India, Peripheral Neuropathy is on the rise; various community studies reveal that the overall prevalence of PN varied from 5 to 2400 per 10,000 population. The older population is affected more (30-40%) as compared to younger population (2-8%) due to higher prevalence of other diseases, medication intake, and other cumulating factors which are associated with the ageing process.
Says Dr. A V Srinivasan, Emeritus Professor, The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, “In India, a significant number of PN cases go under diagnosed by physicians because of the negligence of mild and nagging symptoms or lack of awareness around the condition and its associated risks amongst patients. Additionally, a significant number of patients suffer from PN without any identifiable cause (idiopathic neuropathy) which further complicates effective management for the treating physician. Poor understanding of the disease in terms of its causes, timely diagnosis, its impact and fatal complications is another hurdle in India which is creating a burden for physicians. And despite therapeutic advancements in this field, owing to the insidious nature of this disease and lack of guidelines/consensus among physicians, treatment gets compromised.”
Peripheral neuropathy 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.