A study of patients in Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics has suggested that foot and leg amputation rates for diabetics are decreasing.
Total rates of amputation, taking into account the age and gender of patients, were about 7 for every 1,000 patients in 2000 and between 4 and 5 for every 1,000 in 2004. The findings could mean "that we are getting better at screening patients ... and getting them the proper levels of care," Dr. James Wrobel, the head of the Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research in North Chicago, Illinois, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health.
Most recent data (2006) out of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates more than 65,000 diabetics had a foot or leg amputation in that year. It is not reported whether individual toe amputations are included in these numbers. It is also pointed out that numbers may only seem better because there may be greater numbers of "less advanced" patients being diagnosed with diabetes. "Early diabetics" may not have had enough time with the disease to develop the level of involvement that may progress to the need for amputation.