Hispanic U.S.-Mexico Border Population in Texas Twice as Likely To Have Amputations as Result of Diabetes Complications, Report Finds
U.S. residents who have diabetes and live along the 1,200-mile U.S.-Mexico border in Texas -- where the population is about 85% Hispanic -- are twice as likely as other Texas residents with diabetes to have an amputation, according to a CDC study, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. According to the report, which is based on 2003 data, border residents accounted for 19% of all hospitalization fees for diabetes-related amputations. Border residents comprise 10% of the state's population, according to the AP/Chronicle. CDC epidemiologist Eric Miller said the disparity in amputation rates could be related to border residents' limited access to care and education, as well as poverty. Hispanics' predisposition to developing diabetes also might be a factor, he said. There are few doctors who specialize in diabetes treatment and are based along the border, according to the study. The Texas Medical Association reports that some border counties have only one doctor. In addition, about 25% of border residents are considered poor. Experts recommend improvements in the quality and frequency of medical care and diabetes education. Susan Young, a nurse consultant for the diabetes division at the Texas Department of State Health Services, said, "It's an access issue, it's a political issue, it's a social issue." She added, "There are some communities in Texas where I'm sure there are cultural barriers. There are some people (along the border) who get episodic care ... for acute conditions that aren't being managed" (Caldwell, AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/5).
The study is available online.