Rate of Lower Limb Amputations Among US Adults with Diabetes Decreases Significantly

The rate of leg and foot amputations among US adults aged 40 years and older diagnosed with diabetes declined 65% between 1996 and 2008.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey on non-traumatic lower limb amputations, those caused by circulatory problems rather than injury, and the National Health Interview Survey on the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes from 1988 to 2008. They found that the age-adjusted rate of non-traumatic lower limb amputations was 3.9 per 1000 people with diabetes in 2008 compared with 11.2 per 1000 in 1996, according to a press release.

The study also found that in 2008, men had higher rates of leg and foot amputations than women, and blacks had higher rates than whites. Adults aged 75 years and older had the highest rate compared with other age groups.

The researchers suspect that improvements in blood sugar control, foot care and diabetes management and declines in cardiovascular disease all contributed to the decrease in amputations.

“The significant drop in rates of non-traumatic lower limb amputations among US adults with diagnosed diabetes is certainly encouraging, but more work is needed to reduce the disparities among certain populations,” Nilka Ríos Burrows, MPH, an epidemiologist with the CDC and co-author of the study, stated in the release. “We must continue to increase awareness of the devastating health complications of diabetes, the leading cause of lower limb amputations in the United States.”

The study appeared in Diabetes Care.

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