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First-Time National Poll Confirms Neuropathy Hits Millions in Their Prime
Date:5/13/2009

U.S. Neuropathy results from injury to the peripheral nerves, disrupting the body's ability to communicate with its muscles, organs and tissues. Most Americans do not recognize neuropathy's symptoms, which include weakness, numbness, tingling and pain, especially in the hands and feet. If experiencing these symptoms, patients need to consult with a neurologist. With early diagnosis, neuropathy can often be controlled and some types can be cured. If ignored, symptoms can intensify to loss of sensation, unremitting pain, or disability. Too often neuropathy is discovered only after causing irreversible nerve damage.

The Neuropathy Association's national survey of 1,300 patients asked about the age when their neuropathy began, revealing:

  • 3 percent had their illness start in their 20s;
  • 27 percent had their illness start in their 30s-40s;
  • 55 percent had their illness start in their 50s-60s; and
  • 15 percent had their illness start in their 70s-80s.

Age of Neuropathy Onset

This survey was complemented by a second national survey which asked 1,000 patients to identify their specific type of neuropathy. While there are over 100 known types of peripheral neuropathy, 52% of the patients responded their neuropathy was "idiopathic," meaning of no known cause. Other types noted were:

  • 15 percent had diabetic neuropathy;
  • 12 percent had an autoimmune-related neuropathy;
  • 6 percent had a hereditary neuropathy;
  • 4 percent had a chemotherapy-related neuropathy;
  • 4 percent had a trauma-induced neuropathy; and
  • 7 percent had a neuropathy related to other sources such as toxin-induced, nutritional deficiencies, gastro-intestinal disorders, metabolic diseases, or infectious diseases such as HIV or Lyme.
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SOURCE The Neuropathy Association
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