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African Americans have 5 times higher amputation rate
Date:4/28/2008

million people. Feinglass then broke the statistics into three rings of the metropolitan area based on their zip codes.

He found that amputations in the suburban and exurban areas with a primarily white population dropped to 12 per 100,000 in 2004 from 14 in 1987. The largely African American area on the South and West Side actually increased to 63 amputations from 60. The inner suburbs and other areas of Chicago, with between 10 and 50 percent African American population and a large Hispanic population, held fairly steady at 20 amputations per 100,000.

About half of the people who have amputations are diabetic patients with decreased circulation to the feet. Almost all who have amputations are smokers, a habit that can cause hardening of the arteries and clots in the legs.

"These people get sores on their feet that don't heal," Feinglass said. "They develop an ulcer that can often turn into something worse if it's not treated right away."

The high amputation rate is linked to lack of access to primary care and specialty care for diabetic patients and patients with vascular disease. In addition, patients without diabetes may not get a screening for peripheral arterial disease, an inexpensive test to indicate risk factors for circulation problems.

To address these problems, Feinglass said communities need diabetes management programs with nurses to help people control their blood sugar.

"Those are the kinds of programs we know would pay off in the inner city. When blood sugar is lower, there is a lower amputation rate," Feinglass said. Vascular surgeons and podiatrists are also needed in these areas.

"An amputation is a horrible thing to have anybody go through," Feinglass said. "We have to do better at preventing these."


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Contact: Marla Paul
Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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