1 in 2 diabetics suffer from Peripheral Neuropathy during their lifetime.

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetes

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.

Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetes
Ming A. Cunanan, P&G Health General Manager

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


  1. Kumar S, et al. Laser Therapy 2016;25: 141–144 
  2. Attal N et al, Lancet Neurol 2018; 17: 456–66 
  3. Ponirakis G et al, J Diabetes Investig 2019; 10: 1558–1564 
  4. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas. 10th edition; 2021. 
  5. Malik RA, et al.J Diabetes Investig 2020 Vol. 2 No. 5 
  6. Lantion-Ang LC. Epidemiology of diabetes mellitus in Western pacific region: focus on Philippines. Diabetes Res Clin  Pract 2000; 50(Suppl 2): S29–S34. 
  7. O‘Connor AB. Pharmacoecon. 2009;27: 95–112. 
  8. Allemann CJM. Diab Res Clin Practice. 2015;109: 215–225. 
  9. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas. 10th edition; 2021. 
  10. Miranda-Massari JR, et al. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2011;6: 260–273.



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