Lower-limb amputations due to diabetes declining

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 6, 2012

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Although the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased during the past few decades, there has been a reduction in cases of leg and foot amputations due to the disease, a study shows.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers analyzed data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey on nontraumatic lower-limb amputations. They also assessed information from the National Health Interview Survey on the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes from 1988 through 2008.

They found that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes grew from 5.4 million in 1988 to 17.1 million in 2008. But the rate of leg and foot amputations among diabetic adults 40 and older decreased 65% from 1996 to 2008, said the study, in the February issue of Diabetes Care (link). The age-adjusted rate of such amputations was 11.2 per 1,000 people with diagnosed diabetes in 1996 compared with 3.9 per 1,000 in 2008.

Men had higher age-adjusted rates of amputations than women, and blacks had higher rates than whites. The study authors consider the decrease in amputations encouraging but said more work is needed to reduce the disparities among certain populations. Such work should include increasing awareness among the public and health community of diabetes and its complications.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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