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The risk of major amputation or even death from circulatory problems in the lower limbs for people with diabetes is still fairly high, according to Italian researchers.
Reporting in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers from the Diabetic Foot Center, IRCCS Multimedica, in Milan, followed patients for six years and found that while the threat of amputation from what is called "diabetic foot" still existed, it was possible to revascularize the limb and save it in 95 percent of cases, up from 25 percent of the cases at the beginning of the 90s.
"The rate of amputation was consistently lower in patients that received revascularization compared with patients that could not undergo revascularization," the investigators point out.
Patients who could not be revascularized were also three times more likely to die over the course of the study.
Diabetes is a serious illness worldwide and the American Diabetes Association estimates that the total annual economic cost of the disease in the U.S. in 2007 was $174 billion. It is believed that 5.7 million people with diabetes are undiagnosed - 24 percent of all those with the disease. This despite the fact it is relatively easy to diagnose with blood tests.
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