The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has announced a new initiative to address the increase in preventable amputations across the U.S. More than 154,000 amputations are done each year as a result of poor access to quality care. Patients are increasingly forced to have amputations due to diabetes and even lose their lives due to inability to afford care. 

In the U.S., a limb is lost to diabetes every three minutes, according to the ADA. The Amputation Prevention Alliance will work to prevent this disproportional high level of amputations and amputation related mortality through policy, clinical awareness and empowerment of patient advocacy. 

"Today, the American Diabetes Association is proud to announce the launch of the Amputation Prevention Alliance," said Charles D. Henderson, ADA's chief executive officer. "This Alliance, through the groundwork laid by the ADA's Health Equity Now platform, will increase awareness among patients and health care professionals of risk factors for amputations and opportunities to avoid these procedures. 

“This initiative aims to advance needed policy changes to ensure that health care professionals have the tools necessary to prevent unnecessary procedures and save lives moving forward. We can, and must, do better," Henderson said.
The project is slated to run for three years with a focus on enhanced access to quality care, technology and interventions. Rates of amputation are particularly high among minorities, with Black Americans four times higher than non-Hispanic white Americans. In the LatinX community, patients are 50 percent more likely to have an amputation. Indigenous communities experience a rate two times as high as non-Hispanic white Americans. 

"It is without question that diabetes-related amputations unfairly afflict communities of color at an alarming rate," said Dr. Mike Griffiths, president, CEO, and medical director at Advanced Oxygen Therapy Inc. and also a Founding Partner of the Alliance. "When you consider that five-year mortality rates among those having a limb amputated due to diabetes are higher than most forms of cancer, then this situation is as dire as it is tragic."

"Today, 85 percent of diabetes-related amputations are preventable," said Dr. Jon Bloom, CEO, and co-founder of Podimetrics and a Founding Partner of the Amputation Prevention Alliance. "This new initiative is badly needed to put an end to Civil War-style amputations for patients living with complex diabetes. Access to quality care, technology, and earlier interventions can make a substantial difference in salvaging limbs and saving lives.”

A survey by found that people served were unaware of their risk of amputation. Sixty-five percent said they believed they were not at risk and only 1 in 4 understood the signs and symptoms that could lead to amputation such as peripheral neuropathy, peripheral artery disease or critical limb ischemia.