Diabetes-related amputations up significantly in California — and San Diego
Clinicians are amputating more toes, legs, ankles and feet of patients with diabetes in California — and San Diego County in particular — in a “shocking” trend that has mystified diabetes experts here and across the country.
Though they often prolong lives, diabetes-related amputations deprive patients of independence, increase the need for social services and add to disability and medical costs.
Statewide, lower-limb amputations increased by more than 31 percent from 2010 to 2016 when adjusted for population change. In San Diego County, the increase was more than twice that: 66.4 percent.
Losing a foot, ankle or especially a leg robs patients of their independence, hampers their ability to walk and makes them more vulnerable to infection. It also can shorten their lives.
This trend, which inewsource documented with state hospital data, is one physicians, surgeons and public health officials are at a loss to explain, though many have theories.
Edward Gregg of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the California numbers are worrisome.
Public health officials consider amputations to be an important indicator of a region’s diabetes care because diabetes and its complications can be prevented, said Gregg, chief of epidemiology and statistics for the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.
“If we see it going down, then it’s a good sign, because so many aspects of good diabetes care are in theory affected. And when you see it going up, that’s a concern,” he said.
The CDC has noticed an increase of 27 percent nationally in the rate of amputations Continue reading