Fewer diabetics losing legs, CDC investigators discover

Share this content:
Fewer diabetics losing legs, CDC investigators discover
Fewer diabetics losing legs, CDC investigators discover
The rate of foot and leg amputations in diabetics over the age of 40 fell 65% between 1996 and 2008, according to a recent report.

Improvements in blood sugar control, foot care, diabetes management and an overall drop in cardiovascular disease all have contributed to lower amputation rates, say researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes is still the leading cause of lower-limb amputations in the United States.

“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,” said CDC researcher Nilka Rios Burrows, Ph.D. “We must continue to increase awareness of the devastating health complications of diabetes.”

Full findings appear in Diabetes Care.

The age-adjusted rate of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations was 3.9 per 1,000 people with diagnosed diabetes in 2008, compared to 11.2 per 1,000 in 1996. Non-traumatic lower-limb amputations refer to those caused by circulatory problems that are a common complication among people with diabetes rather than amputations caused by injuries.

The study also found that among people with diagnosed diabetes in 2008, men had higher age-adjusted rates of leg and foot amputations than women (6 per 1,000 vs. 1.9).