Take a minute (or three) to let this alarming figure sink in: Limb loss occurs every three minutes in America due to diabetes. But, maybe, increased awareness can help combat this debilitating statistic.
The American Diabetes Association announced a new initiative designed to address the urgent public health challenge of preventable amputation called the Amputation Prevention Alliance. Over 154,000 amputations occur every year in the United States, with the majority of those procedures being preventable. But due to challenges in accessing quality care, patients are forced into unnecessary amputations and even death.
The Amputation Prevention Alliance’s work will focus on addressing communities facing disproportionately high rates of amputations and amputated-related mortality, including through advancing needed policy changes, driving clinician awareness of opportunities to prevent amputations and empowering patients to advocate for their best care. This three-year effort will aim to improve care for all people living with diabetes, and enhance access to quality care, technology and necessary interventions.
The aim is to reduce the number of unnecessary amputations that take place every year in the United States. The right to avoid an amputation is a centerpiece of the ADA’s #HealthEquityNow platform.
Experts Weigh in on Limb Loss
“The American Diabetes Association is proud to announce the launch of the Amputation Prevention Alliance,” said Charles D. Henderson, ADA’s chief executive officer. “This Alliance, through the groundwork laid by the ADA’s Health Equity Now platform, will increase awareness among patients and healthcare professionals of risk factors for amputations and opportunities to avoid these procedures. This initiative aims to advance needed policy changes to ensure that healthcare professionals have the tools necessary to prevent unnecessary procedures and save lives moving forward. We can, and must, do better.”
Access to quality care and earlier intervention remains the challenge that leads to unnecessarily high rates of amputations, particularly among people of color. Black Americans face rates of amputations up to four times higher than non-Hispanic white Americans! LatinX communities are 50 percent more likely to have an amputation and indigenous communities face amputation rates that are two times higher than those among non-Hispanic white Americans.
“Today, 85 percent of diabetes-related amputations are preventable,” said Dr. Jon Bloom, CEO, and Co-Founder of Podimetrics and a Founding Partner of the Amputation Prevention Alliance. That’s why access to quality care, technology and earlier interventions can make a substantial difference in salvaging limbs and saving lives.
“It is without question that diabetes-related amputations unfairly afflict communities of color at an alarming rate,” said Dr. Mike Griffiths, President, CEO, and Medical Director at Advanced Oxygen Therapy Inc. and also a Founding Partner of the Alliance. “When you consider that five-year mortality rates among those having a limb amputated due to diabetes are higher than most forms of cancer, then this situation is as dire as it is tragic.”
Survey data confirms that far too many people with diabetes are unaware of their own risk for an amputation. In a recent survey of people living with diabetes conducted by Thrivable, despite diabetes being the leading cause of amputations, 65 percent of those surveyed said they believed they were not at risk for amputation and just 1-in-4 of those surveyed understood the signs and symptoms of conditions that can lead to an amputation, such as peripheral neuropathy, peripheral artery disease or critical limb ischemia.
Learn more here.