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Diabetes-related amputations increase for Hispanics

Hospitalizations of adult Hispanics for diabetes-related foot or leg amputations rose sharply between 2001 and 2004 according to data from the 2007 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Leg or foot amputations among people with diabetes typically occur because the disease diminishes blood circulation. Nerve damage resulting from diabetes can also impair the ability of a patient to sense a blister or other sore and increase the likelihood that it will become infected. About 86,000 Americans underwent diabetes-related amputations in 2004. Although diabetes is the leading cause of foot or leg amputations, those complications and others can be minimized or avoided completely, through proper care by medical providers and patients.

Updated data from the Disparities Report show:

  • The hospitalization rate for diabetes-related amputations among Hispanics' increased from 63 admissions per 100,000 people in 2001 to nearly 80 admissions per 100,000 people in 2004.
  • During the same period, the rate for whites remained steady at roughly 28 to 31 admissions per 100,000 people.
  • The diabetes-related amputation rate among blacks decreased slightly from 113 per 100,000 people to about 104 admissions per 100,000 people. That rate remains more than three times the rate for whites.
  • In 2004, only 38 percent of adult Hispanics age 40 and over with diabetes received three recommended annual screenings—foot exams, eye exams and blood sugar level checks (hemoglobin A1c test). The percentage was 47 for whites and 47 for blacks.

For additional information on Hispanic health care disparities, go to the 2007 National Health Disparities Report at

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