Frequency of neuropathic pain in diabetes

Neuropathic pain is a current reality for up to 25% of the 20 million Americans with diabetes. However, of all those with diabetes, approximately half will eventually develop diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy is an extremely common complication of diabetes and results in pain and numbness that can affect the individual’s sleep, function, sense of well being and overall quality of life. The pain is often accompanied by unpleasant sensations such as tingling and burning. The pain may range from sharp stabbing pain to a consistent dull ache.

Neuropathic pain was previously called “non-inflammatory” pain, because it was thought to be the one (and only) type of pain not consistently associated with inflammation.

Neuropathic pain is no longer referred to as “non-inflammatory” because there is now overwhelming evidence that inflammation is either the cause of neuropathic pain or a significant contributor to neuropathic pain.

Granted, the inflammation of neuropathic pain is not fulminant  inflammation, as might be seen with an infection, but  results from a more ‘subtle’ (and chronic) form of inflammation. Still, it’s inflammation. So the key to its effective treatment may be the ability to eliminate inflammation at its very earliest stages. Indeed, getting to the root of inflammation might mean getting to the root of all pain, including neuropathic pain.


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