The warnings, ad campaigns and coersion from concerned family members (sometimes you gotta get slick with it) have apparently paid off. The Center for Disease Control announced this week that the amputation rate for those suffering with the often debilitating disease has dropped by 65 percent since in the past ten years.  

  • Between 1996 and 2008, the rate of leg and foot amputations among adults with diabetes declined by 65%, with men having three times the rate of amputations as women (6 per 1,000 vs. 2 per 1,000).
  • Amputation rates were higher among blacks than whites (5 per 1,000 vs. 3 per 1,000).
  • Those over the age of 75 had the highest rate of amputations. Foot and leg amputations occurred in 4 out of every 1,000 adults with diabetes in 2008, compared to 11 out of every 1,000 in 1996, the CDC reports.

Diabetes is caused by prolonged high blood pressure, high blood sugar and low insulin levels that can lead to nerve damage. The number of amputations is thought to be a good indication of the effectiveness of prevention efforts. Although this is good news, physicians still encourage preventative lifestyle choices, especially for those have a history of the disease in their family.

Should this news be encouraging to those who have the disease or does the gauge of effectiveness seem a bit extreme? What other factors should scientists consider when analyzing the response rate to health efforts?