The Arizona Legislature recognizes April 6 as Arizona Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) Awareness Day, mirroring the national month of foot health awareness established by the American Podiatric Medical Association.
HCR2065 was spearheaded by Rep. Cloves C. Campbell Jr. (D-Dist. 16) and Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor (D-Dist. 16).
“This is an important awareness effort for all Arizonans,” Campbell said in a news release. “Educating our citizens, especially those with diabetes, about seeing a doctor regularly is an important cause that I stand behind.”
More than half of all diabetics suffer from DPN. In the U.S., African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanic/Latino Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
In Arizona, nearly 23% of Native Americans older than the age of 20 years have been diagnosed with noninsulin-dependent diabetes making this awareness day that much more important.
The leading cause of amputations in the United States, DPN causes as much as 40% to 60% of lower extremity amputations, with the African American, Latino and Native American diabetic populations at twice the rate of the diabetic white population. In the United States, more than 50,000 diabetes-related amputations are performed each year, but comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45% to 85%.
“DPN is preventable only to the extent that the underlying cause is preventable,” Taylor said. “Patients must be aware of what is going on within their own body and advocate for their own health care. Open access to treatment is of the utmost importance. It is up to each individual to recognize the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and seek early diagnosis to find out what their treatment options are.”