Diabetic Neuropathy in the Philippines: Prevalence, Gaps in Care, and Implications

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Introduction

Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (pDPN) is a common complication of diabetes mellitus. This condition affects the peripheral nerves and can cause severe pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the extremities. Despite its prevalence, there is limited knowledge about the epidemiology of pDPN in the Philippines. This review aims to map the prevalence of pDPN and identify the healthcare gaps associated with this condition.

Methods

To gather data on pDPN in the Philippines, a systematic search of MEDLINE, Embase, and BIOSIS databases was conducted. Only studies published in English between 2004 and 2021 were included. Additionally, an unstructured literature search was conducted on public and government websites. The criteria for inclusion were predefined, and a total of 26 articles were retrieved from the structured and unstructured searches. After applying the inclusion criteria, three studies were considered for final analysis.

Prevalence of pDPN

The three studies included in the analysis had sample sizes of 103, 172, and 100. The combined data from these studies showed a simple mean prevalence of pDPN in the Philippines of 26.5%. This indicates that approximately one-fourth of diabetic patients in the Philippines may be affected by pDPN.

Awareness, screening, and diagnosis of pDPN

According to a published study, awareness of pDPN among healthcare professionals in the Philippines is relatively high at 89%. However, the screening and diagnosis rates for pDPN are suboptimal. Screening was found to be performed in only 65% of diabetic patients, while the diagnosis rate was 76.7%. This suggests that there is a gap in the early detection and recognition of pDPN in the Philippines.

Treatment and management of pDPN

Among the patients diagnosed with pDPN, only one-third (75%) were receiving treatment. This indicates that a significant number of individuals with pDPN in the Philippines are not receiving appropriate management for their condition. Unfortunately, there is a lack of data on adherence to treatment and disease control in this population.

Knowledge gaps and implications

The limited data available on the management stages of pDPN in the Philippines highlight the need for further research and awareness. Addressing the knowledge gaps can lead to improved patient care and pain management. It can also help in making informed decisions regarding the prevention and treatment of pDPN in the Philippines.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the prevalence of pDPN in the Philippines is estimated to be 26.5%. Despite relatively high awareness among healthcare professionals, there are gaps in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of pDPN. Further research is needed to better understand the patient journey and improve the management of pDPN in the Philippines. By addressing these gaps, healthcare providers can improve the quality of care for individuals with pDPN and enhance their overall well-being.

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