“Idiopathic Neuropathy” Gets Spotlight on Social Media’s Leading Physician Voice,! 

February 10th, 2013 

Dr. Shanna Patterson - 09/12
Dr. Shanna K. Patterson writes, “It
is estimated that over 20 million
Americans have neuropathy.
Many people don’t know that prior
to the advent of the obesity
pandemic and the associated
rising rates of diabetes, leprosy
was the most common cause of
neuropathy worldwide.  Although
it is now widely recognized that
diabetes is the most common
cause of neuropathy, for up to
30% of patients the cause of their
neuropathy remains unknown.
These cases are dubbed 
“idiopathic,” and--as a neuropathy
specialist I assure you--that for
many patients this becomes a
chronic source of frustration
and anxiety.”  Read the blog...

Comment on the blog...

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We are excited to share with you the just published guest blog post, Idiopathic Neuropathy: Two Steps Providers Can Take, on social media’s leading physician voice—

This guest blog post—written by Shanna K. Patterson, MD, a member of The Neuropathy Association’s Medical Advisory Committee—offers insight into helping people with neuropathy, as well as the health care professionals trying to help them, to get beyond the “idiopathic” neuropathy diagnosis.

Many patients in the neuropathy community have been given a diagnosis of “idiopathic” neuropathy (or neuropathy from an unknown cause).  Some may have treatable causes that can be identified when they are seen by a physician who specializes in evaluating patients with neuropathy.  However, approximately 30% of people with neuropathy and 50% of people with small fiber neuropathy have no identified underlying cause found even after a thorough evaluation.

Naturally, many patients with idiopathic neuropathy have questions: “What are the chances my neuropathy will get worse? Isn’t there any treatment?  What else can be done to find the cause of my neuropathy?”  The answer depends on the details of each person’s case.  For some patients who have been given an idiopathic neuropathy diagnosis, the answer to these questions may be “yes.”  This blog post sheds light on what patients and health care professionals can do collaboratively to address these questions.

Dr. Shanna Patterson is assistant director of Electromyography and a board-certified attending neurologist at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.  She also holds an appointment at Columbia University as assistant clinical professor of Neurology.  She completed her residency training in Neurology and a fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology, with an emphasis on EMG and neuromuscular disorders, at Columbia University. She has authored academic papers and a book chapter on topics related to neuromuscular disorders, including neuropathy.  In her clinical practice she conducts initial evaluations for patients with neuropathy symptoms and also sees patients for more in-depth assessments of previously diagnosed idiopathic neuropathy.

We applaud the team for bringing attention to this important health issue and we encourage them to continue to highlight and address the toll the neuropathy epidemic takes on more than 20,000,000 Americans.  And, a special thanks to Dr. Shanna Patterson for helping us raise the public profile of neuropathy!


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