According to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the February issue of Diabetes Care, there has been a significant drop in the rate of leg and foot amputations among Americans aged 40 and over who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
For their study, the authors assessed trends in hospitalization rates for non-traumatic lower-limb amputation in individuals with and without diabetes; they analyzed data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey and the National Health Interview Survey. According to the study, the incidence of diabetes-related lower-limb amputations in individuals aged 40 and over has decreased 65 percent, from 11.2 per 1,000 people in 1996, to 3.9 per 1,000 people in 2008.
The authors suggest the most likely reasons for the drop in leg and foot amputations among people with diagnosed diabetes are improvements in blood sugar control, foot care, and diabetes management. Reduction in cardiovascular disease rates is also a likely contributor, they said.
“The message from this landmark study is clear-proactive foot care and protective therapeutic footwear are important components of a comprehensive health, diet, and lifestyle plan to help prevent amputation and other complications related to this chronic condition,” said Dennis Janisse, CPed, president and CEO of Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based National Pedorthic Services, and assistant clinical professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
“The significant drop in rates of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes is certainly encouraging, but more work is needed to reduce the disparities among certain populations,” study co-author Nilka Rios Burrows, MPH, an epidemiologist with CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, said in a CDC press release.
According to the study, diabetes-related lower-limb amputation rates were higher among individuals over 75 years of age, higher among men than women, and higher among African-Americans than Caucasians.