Ahead of World Diabetes Day 2023, Vitamins B1+B6+B12 (Neurobion) is on a mission to raise public awareness on the connection between Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetes with its #KnowTheSigns of nerve damage to Make Life Sweeter campaign. The campaign aims to help Filipino consumers understand and identify early signs of Nerve Damage and Vitamin B Deficiency, for timely detection and treatment, and improved quality of life.
INQUIRER.net connected with Ming A. Cunanan, General Manager, P&G Health Philippines to know more.
Ming A. Cunanan, P&G Health General Manager who is also a diabetic, joins the conversation, bringing her expertise and wealth of personal experience to shed light on some of the most crucial questions about diabetes and neuropathy that everyone should know.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy? What is the relation between the prevalence of Diabetes and Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is one of the most common peripheral nervous system diseases in adults globally. It is a chronic clinical condition, wherein the peripheral nervous system is damaged. Besides diabetes mellitus, obesity, alcohol misuse, and B vitamins deficiencies are other high-risk factors leading to peripheral nerve damage.
Peripheral Neuropathy and neuropathic pain are highly prevalent in general population with an estimated 1 in 102 people suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy. 80% of patients remain undiagnosed3 & are suffering in silence even when symptoms are painful.
The most prevalent cause of neuropathy worldwide is Diabetes. As the total number of diabetes patients in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa is projected to reach 603 million by 20454, it is estimated that approximately 50% of these patients will develop PN during their lifetime.
It is estimated that 60-70 % of diabetics have mild to severe forms of nerve problems, called diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN).
Diabetic PN is seen in very high proportion of diabetes patients in Southeast Asia; in some countries up to almost 60%5. A study from the Philippines in 2000 from the Diabcare-Asia project, which assessed 2,708 patients in diabetes centres, reported a prevalence of 42% for diabetic neuropathy, based on medical records6.
As a diabetic, I, too, am at risk of developing peripheral neuropathy and myself keep learning as we work on our awareness campaigns.
What are the most important symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy? How does it affect the patient’s quality of life?
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy include numbness, tingling, prickling, and burning sensations, pins and needles in the hands and feet. Sufferers of PN report impacts on their quality of life including reduced physical abilities and poor sleep.
If PN is not diagnosed and treated in early stages, it usually progresses into neuropathic pain which can lead to several comorbidities which significantly impact the patient’s quality of life, social life and working life7. These include depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety which also require treatment adding to the economic burden of the patient. Painful diabetic PN is significantly associated with disruptions in employment status and work productivity. Of working patients, 59% reported being less productive at work8
What is the importance of early diagnosis in reducing the deterioration of Peripheral Neuropathy cases?
The main reason that DPN is often underdiagnosed in clinical practice is the lack of awareness amongst both patients and physicians. Patients are often not aware of symptoms or their association with nerves or ignore them. Less than 1/3rd of physicians recognize signs of DPN9. Undiagnosed cases contributing greatly to the high rates of morbidity and mortality of diabetes. Up to 50 % of patients are asymptomatic and therefore often remain undiagnosed and are at risk of insensate injury10.
It is important for individuals with diabetes to be aware of symptoms and discuss these with their healthcare providers. At the same time, physicians should also probe for symptoms regularly and help patients identify them. As some patients might have difficulties in describing their symptoms properly, proactively probing for characteristics of PN such as numbness, pins and needles and tingling sensation, lancinating, stabbing or electric shock like pain can be a good starting point. Easy to perform sensory tests such as vibration perception testing, pin prick test, monofilament test etc. take no longer than a few minutes and guide the diagnosis, while laboratory tests can help refine the diagnoses.
This is why we strongly advocate for early diagnosis because it helps enable better treatment outcomes and quality of life and damaged nerves can be regenerated if nerve care damage has not progressed too far. As someone who also has diabetes, this has been my personal mantra.
Tell us more about P&G Health’s #KnowTheSigns Campaign.
P&G Health – makers of Vitamins B1+B6+B12 (Neurobion)- is committed to continued efforts to raise awareness on Diabetes and its associated complications including Peripheral Neuropathy and Nerve Damage.
Vitamins B1+B6+B12 (Neurobion)’ s #KnowTheSigns of nerve damage to Make Life Sweeter campaign is a large-scale collective awareness effort in collaboration with healthcare professionals, patients, media publications and influencers. It highlights the everyday challenges faced by people suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy, and the importance of timely diagnoses and treatment for an improved quality of life.
Our endeavour is to highlight the need for Collective Action to raise awareness on this condition, because 1) It CAN be managed 2) Early diagnoses CAN help enable better treatment outcomes, better quality of life 3) Damaged nerves CAN be regenerated if nerve care damage has not progressed too far.
Our team continues to work closely with healthcare professionals, patients, media publications, and influencers to raise awareness through creative online and offline activations, physical screening camps and use of digital self-screening tools that bring to life everyday challenges faced by people suffering from PN and highlight the role of early diagnoses and timely treatment. Personally, I anticipate this yearly commemoration towards enabling patients and consumers to understand early signs and take timely action.
What is Vitamins B1+B16+B12 (Neurobion)?
Vitamins B1+B16+B12 (Neurobion) has been trusted by doctors since 1962 and is a world leader in Vitamin B combination products. Vitamins B1+B16+B12 (Neurobion) is scientifically proven to help repair nerve damage, restore nerve function and regenerate nerves to relieve neuropathy symptoms with regular use and proper diet and exercise.
What is the importance of monitoring Vitamin B levels in Nerve Health?
Neurotropic B vitamins are essential for nerve health and support nerve regeneration. Vitamin B1 provides energy to the nerves, Vitamin B6 helps with signal transmission in nerves, while Vitamin B12 supports nerve regeneration. An in-vitro study initiated by P&G Health showed that when Vitamin B1, B6, and B12 were added to nerve cultures with healthy nerve cells, there was an increase in total neurite length of 124% and an increase in the total cell body area of 55%. Nerve network of cells nourished with Vitamins B1, B6, and B12, also doubled. Further in-vitro experiments have proven that Vitamins B1, B6, and B12 support nerve cell recovery after nerve cell damage.
If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
ASC Reference Code: P0003P111023N
- Kumar S, et al. Laser Therapy 2016;25: 141–144
- Attal N et al, Lancet Neurol 2018; 17: 456–66
- Ponirakis G et al, J Diabetes Investig 2019; 10: 1558–1564
- International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas. 10th edition; 2021.
- Malik RA, et al.J Diabetes Investig 2020 Vol. 2 No. 5
- Lantion-Ang LC. Epidemiology of diabetes mellitus in Western pacific region: focus on Philippines. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2000; 50(Suppl 2): S29–S34.
- O‘Connor AB. Pharmacoecon. 2009;27: 95–112.
- Allemann CJM. Diab Res Clin Practice. 2015;109: 215–225.
- International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas. 10th edition; 2021.
- Miranda-Massari JR, et al. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2011;6: 260–273.