Improved Management of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
Neuropathic pain can be defined as “pain arising as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system”. Care of the diabetic patient in the primary care setting involves counseling the patient on diet, exercise and medications to optimize diabetes self-management. The provision of diabetes care in the primary care setting must also involve assessing the patient for any signs and symptoms of diabetes-related complications.
Among them, one of the complications include peripheral neuropathy of the feet. It has been reported that, patients with diabetic neuropathy often results in numbness, reduced sensation and significant levels of pain in the feet.
The provision of care for patients with type II diabetes in primary care must involve assessing patients for peripheral neuropathy of the feet. A study was conducted to demonstrate that the painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is poorly assessed for and treated in primary care. A critical analysis of research was conducted to identify the prevalence and impact of PDN among individuals with type II diabetes.
Research evidence were also available with best practice guidelines to support primary care practitioners for better assessment and treatment of PDN. However, the lack of knowledge, awareness and implementation of such research and guidelines helped in prevention of PDN in patients from receiving appropriate care. Though much international research already exists on the prevalence and impact of PDN in primary care but Canadian research was lacking. Further, there are inadequate quantities and qualities of research on treatment modalities for PDN. Current research and guidelines on PDN management are inadequately were implemented in the clinical setting.
Results indicated that the under treatment of PDN has significant implications on the individual, family and society. Healthcare practitioners must be more aware of and should better implement the current research and guidelines into practice to resolve the clinical issues.