Hispanics’ Foot, Leg Amputations Increase From 2001 to 2004; Rates Higher Than for Blacks, Whites
The rate of hospitalizations among Hispanics for diabetes-related leg and foot amputations increased between 2001 and 2004, while rates declined slightly for blacks and remained steady for whites, the Schenectady Daily Gazette reports (Schenectady Daily Gazette, 3/24). The findings -- from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's News and Numbers -- are based on the group's 2007 National Healthcare Disparities Report.
According to the report, 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. The rate for blacks declined from 113 per 100,000 people to roughly 104 admissions per 100,000 people, which is more than three times higher than the rate for whites. Rates among whites remained steady at about 28 to 31 admissions per 100,000 people (AHRQ release, 3/24).
The report also indicated that in 2004, 38% of diabetic Hispanics over age 40 received the three annual screenings recommended for diabetics, including foot and eye examinations, and checks of blood sugar levels. Forty-seven percent of both blacks and whites received the recommended annual screenings, according to the report.
Susan Bates, program coordinator for Amsterdam Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Center in New York, said Hispanics face the same challenges as the rest of the U.S. population in terms of managing diabetes, including learning to manage diet, exercise and testing. Bates added that because diabetics are susceptible to circulatory problems, even small bruises on the limbs can become infected and result in a need for an amputation. In addition, Hispanics who adopt American diets are at a disadvantage because traditional Hispanic foods are healthier than most American food, Bates said. However, the American lifestyle does allow more time for Hispanics to exercise, she said.
"The takeaway message here is if you have diabetes it doesn't need to progress to have your feet or legs amputated," Bates said, adding, "If you manage your diabetes by adopting an appropriate lifestyle you can slow down the progression of the whole disease" (Schenectady Daily Gazette, 3/24).
The report is available online (.pdf).