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Black Diabetics More Likely to Lose a Leg

Amputation rates for Americans vary greatly depending on their race and where they live, a study shows. Blacks were 3 times as likely as non-blacks to have a leg amputated. The report is published on the website of the Dartmouth Atlas Project. It is based on Medicare claims. They covered the years 2007 through 2011. Researchers focused on Medicare patients who had diabetes and peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD causes poor circulation in the legs. Both of these conditions increase the risk of amputations. Besides the racial differences, leg amputation rates were 5 times as high in some regions as in others. Overall, amputation rates were highest in the Southeast and in rural areas. Blacks were more likely than non-blacks to receive surgery to improve circulation. It can help prevent the need for amputations.

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