For National Neuropathy Week, May 17-21, The Neuropathy Association will join with the Empire State Building to raise neuropathy awareness, recognize National Neuropathy Week, and commemorate the Association's 15th Anniversary. On Thursday, May 20, the Empire State Building will light up purple and gold to shine a light on peripheral neuropathy as a national epidemic impacting over 20 million Americans.
May 17-21 is the sixth annual National Neuropathy Week, an event launched by The Neuropathy Association to raise awareness about neuropathy and its warning signs. As the leading national non-profit organization representing peripheral neuropathy patients and those caring for them, The Neuropathy Association's mission is to increase public awareness of neuropathy and the need for early intervention and more research. The Empire State Building lighting is part of the Association's week-long activities to observe National Neuropathy Week and underscore the significant toll this often painful and potentially debilitating disease is taking on American's health and quality of life.
"With 1 in 15 Americans affected, neuropathy is an under-recognized national epidemic, and the neuropathy community can no longer be denied the attention and support it deserves. It is time we all stepped up to end that suffering," said Tina Tockarshewsky, president and CEO of The Neuropathy Association.
Tockarshewsky added, "We are so proud that the Empire State Building has chosen to partner with us to illuminate our hopes for better treatments and cures for neuropathy and to recognize our fifteen years of helping New Yorkers and the general public. The lighting also honors the millions of people living every day with peripheral neuropathy and the members and supporters who make the work of The Neuropathy Association possible."
"While early intervention and treatment can be critical to slowing the disease's progression, our biggest challenge is many Americans still do not know about neuropathy, are unaware they have it, and do not recognize warning signs, which can include weakness, numbness, tingling and pain, especially in the hands and feet. If ignored, these symptoms can lead to persistent weakness, loss of sensation or unremitting pain," noted Dr. Thomas H. Brannagan, III, medical adviser for The Neuropathy Association.
Peripheral neuropathy, or "nerve damage," affects over 20 million (or 1 in 15) Americans, making neuropathy one of the most common chronic diseases and one of the leading causes of disability in adults in the U.S. Early warning signs can include pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. People experiencing these symptoms should consult with a neurologist. With early diagnosis, neuropathy can often be controlled. If ignored, symptoms can intensify to persistent weakness, loss of sensation, chronic pain or disability. Too often neuropathy is discovered after causing irreversible nerve damage.
There are over 100 known types of peripheral neuropathy. One third of all neuropathy patients have diabetic peripheral neuropathy (with 50% of all diabetics developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy). A third of cases include a range of causes including autoimmune disorders, heredity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, nutritional imbalances, infections, and toxins. One third of all neuropathies are "idiopathic," or of an unknown cause.
Founded in 1995, The Neuropathy Association is the leading national nonprofit organization providing neuropathy patient support, education, advocacy, and the promotion of research into the causes of and cures for peripheral neuropathies. The Neuropathy Association encourages and supports research to better understand neuropathy and also provides funding for promising scientific research through its annual research grants program, which has awarded over $850,000 in grants to date.
The Neuropathy Association connects patients with one another through its active nationwide network of members, regional chapters, medical Centers of Excellence and 200 patient support groups. There are fifteen Association-designated neuropathy medical Centers of Excellence located at major university and VA hospitals across the U.S. serving neuropathy patients, providing treatment, and conducting active research, including:
Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center (Phoenix, AZ)
University of California at San Francisco
University of Southern California, Good Samaritan Hospital (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (Miami, FL)
University of Florida and Shands Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL)
Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital (Hines, IL)
Louisiana State University HSC (New Orleans, LA)
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO)
Columbia University Medical Center (NY, NY)
Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University (NY, NY)
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
University of Kansas (Kansas City, KS)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, TN)
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)