A new national survey commissioned by the American Diabetes Association (ADA; Alexandria, Virginia) revealed that, while the majority of people with diabetes experience symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) a serious complication of diabetes that leads to sensations of pain and/or numbness, tingling or "pins and needles" in the feet and hands only a small minority have been diagnosed with this condition. And a staggering 56% of patients have never even heard of diabetic neuropathy.

For the 18.2 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes, it is extremely important to be aware of the seriousness of diabetic neuropathy, the ADA said.

"These study results are alarming because, left untreated, diabetic neuropathy always progresses. It markedly impairs quality of life and then leads to foot ulcers, infections and, ultimately, amputation," said Aaron Vinik, MD, PhD, director, Strelitz Diabetes Research Institute. "Not knowing you have diabetic neuropathy doesn't mean that the condition will not progress. It will still get you."

The national survey of 8,119 people was conducted to help form the direction of ADA's new Diabetic Neuropathy Campaign.