Amputations Bad–Public Health Good

If you spend a lot of your working time nagging people to keep their blood sugar under control and to take good care of their feet you will appreciate this. From the Centers for Disease Control…

CDC report finds large decline in lower-limb amputations among U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes

The rate of leg and foot amputations among U.S. adults aged 40 and older with diagnosed diabetes declined by 65 percent between 1996 and 2008, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published today in the journal, Diabetes Care. The age–adjusted rate of nontraumatic 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, “Declining Rates of Hospitalization for Nontraumatic Lower–Extremity Amputation in the Diabetic Population Aged 40 years or Older: U.S., 1988–2008,” is published in the current online issue of Diabetes Care.

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), and blacks had higher rates than whites (4.9 per 1,000 vs. 2.9). Adults aged 75 years and older had the highest rate – 6.2 per 1,000 – compared to other age groups.

The study authors note that improvements in blood sugar control, foot care and diabetes management, along with declines in cardiovascular disease, are likely to have contributed to the decline in leg and foot amputations among people with diagnosed diabetes.

Awesome. This kind of progress comes from educating the public, engaging health care workers, and lots of government involvement. And everyone knows that it’s better to have legs than not. I see that up close all the time.

When I started out as an aide in a nursing home, back in the mid-80’s, bedsores were common and the general attitude was just beginning to shift from ‘nothing can be done’ to ‘we’d better do something or Medicare is going to whack us.’ It’s no longer routine or accepted that people get bedsores, and the people I see now who have them tend to be very immobile or paralyzed. It’s a terrible problem that is best prevented. But prevention required a big investment of labor and an attitude adjustment. The payoff comes later.

I gotta run to work, I have lots of people to nag. Have a nice day.

3 thoughts on “Amputations Bad–Public Health Good

  1. My dear friend and muse, Harold Rogovin suffered with diabetes, and did lose a toe (or more than one) which, I believe, he attributed partly to the cold northeast….

    I miss Harold…

    Thanks for sharing the good news, and for the writing…..xo.

  2. In my experience with hospitalized elderly relatives, it is very common that bedsores exist, and instead of taking responsibility for turning patients, hospital staff claim the bedsore was there before admission.

    1. Nursing homes used to say the bedsores happened in the hospital, and I’ve admitted people to home care that had undocumented pressure sores.
      It’s scary how fast a red spot can become an open sore that takes months to heal. Prevention is key.

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