African Americans at Risk for Amputations

Published Online: Tuesday, October 1, 2002

African Americans are 2 to 3 times as likely as those in other ethnic groups to end up losing a limb to diabetes-related circulation problems.

According to the results of a study published in the Southern Medical Journal (August 2002), black Americans under age 45 were twice as likely to lose a limb as other people the same age. Among the oldest age groups, blacks were 3 times as likely as nonblacks to lose a limb.
The researchers looked at hospital discharge records for more than 1 million amputation patients in the country between 1988 and 1996.

They found that 82% of amputations are due to circulatory problems caused by diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments.

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