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Study Finds a Lack of Health Insurance May Roadblock Some Diabetes Patients From Seeking Critical Treatment
Date:11/19/2007

American Podiatric Medical Association Releases Study on Diabetes andFoot Care within the African-American Community

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With more than 80,000 lower-limb amputations reported annually among people with diabetes in the United States, there's a possibility many amputations, especially among African-Americans, could have been prevented if patients had health insurance. A recent national survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) found nearly ten percent of the 3.2 million African-Americans with diabetes are uninsured. Of those, 75 percent have NOT seen a podiatric physician for diabetes treatment reportedly due to no health coverage, compared to 45 percent of those with insurance who do see a podiatrist.

"Podiatric physicians are a critical part of a diabetes management team," said Dr. Christian Robertozzi, APMA president. "Because a person with diabetes can experience circulatory problems and even loss of sensation in the feet, it's critical that they receive proper foot care to avoid complications, such diabetic ulcers or amputations."

In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic, lower-limb amputations in United States. African-Americans are almost three times as likely to suffer from lower-limb amputations as Caucasian-Americans. The study, which surveyed by phone 600 African-Americans across the country with diabetes or a family history of the disease, revealed 97 percent of those with the disease regularly visited a doctor. However, 57 percent reported they'd never seen a podiatric physician because many felt, "there is nothing wrong with my feet."

The reality is a vast majority of amputations can be prevented if the following potential warning signs are detected early in the feet:

-- Numbness

-- Redness

-- Tingling sensations

-- Burning sensations

-- Loss of hair

-- Cuts and scrapes that are slow to heal.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, see a podiatric physician. Tingling in the feet (68%), cramping in the calves (54%), burning in the feet (48%) and slow to heel wounds (16%) are some of the most common lower-limb ailments reported by African-Americans with diabetes in the APMA study.

For more information about diabetes or to view the complete survey, go http://www.apma.org/diabetes .


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SOURCE American Podiatric Medical Association
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