The prevalence of foot ulceration in the general diabetic population is 4-10%, being lower (1.5-3.5%) in young and highest (5-10%) in older patients. The lifetime risk for foot ulcers in diabetic patients is about 15%. The major adverse outcome of foot ulceration is amputation. Data from several studies have documented that foot ulcers precede approximately 85% of all amputations performed in patients with diabetes. Risk of ulceration and amputation increases 2- to 4-fold with both age and duration of diabetes. According to one report, prevalence of amputations in diabetic patients is 1.6% in the age range 18-44 years, 3.4% among those aged 45-64 years, and 3.6% in patients older than 65 years. Incidence of lower extremity amputations in the United States was 9.8 per 1000 patients with diabetes in 1996, increasing by 26% from 1990, despite efforts to reduce these rates. Data from other countries confirm the increase of amputation rates worldwide. This may be due to aging of the diabetic population, and better reporting. As the diabetic population increases, more amputations are expected in the future.
Foot ulceration and amputation affect the quality of life for patients and create an economic burden for both the patient and the health care system. Therefore, efforts to identify the patient who is at risk for foot ulceration, prevention and appropriate treatment must, of necessity, become a major priority for healthcare providers.
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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...