What is the prevalence of diabetic foot lesions requiring wound care?

Updated: Apr 24, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Zubin J Panthaki, MD, CM, FACS, FRCSC  more...
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According to the Centers for Disease Prevention National Diabetes Statistics Report, [10] an estimated 26.9 million Americans (8.2% of the population) are known to have diabetes and millions more are considered to be at risk. Of those at risk, diabetes is undiagnosed in 8.1 million individuals. Diabetic foot lesions are one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization secondary to a complication of diabetes. Among patients with diabetes, 15% will develop a foot ulcer and 12-24% of those with a foot ulcer will require amputation. Indeed, diabetes is the leading cause of nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations in the United States, accounting for 60% of these amputations.

In diabetic patients in the United States, the lifetime incidence of foot ulcers is 19-34%. More than 50% of these ulcers become infected at some point, and up to 20% of ulcers with moderate-to-severe infection result in amputation. This means that 1-2% of all patients with diabetic foot ulcers will at some point require an amputation. [11] Diabetic peripheral neuropathy confers the greatest risk of foot ulceration; microvascular disease and suboptimal glycemic control also contribute to this total. Even with successful treatment and ulcer healing, the recurrence rate in that patient population is 66% and the amputation rate rises to 12%. [12]

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