Study sheds light, Diabetes wellness to reduce risk of amputation

Patients with diabetes who participate in a free Medicare-covered Annual Wellness Visit are 36 percent less likely to require an amputation, according to a new study by University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers and collaborators.

The researchers analyzed data from 2006 to 2015 for Medicare patients in the "Diabetes Belt," which consists of 644 counties in the southeastern and Appalachian areas of the United States with higher diabetes incidence. Mississippi, as well as parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, make up the Diabetes Belt. Patients in the Diabetes Belt had a 27% higher chance of needing a lower-extremity amputation than those in the counties around the belt.
The researchers have found that patients who took advantage of their free Annual Wellness Visit that year had a 36 percent lower risk of amputation than those who did not, regardless of where they resided.

"Our studies confirm our hypothesis that Annual Wellness Visits are associated with a lower risk of major lower-extremity amputations, emphasising the importance of connecting patients to preventive care services," said Jennifer Lobo, PhD, a researcher in the University of Virginia's Department of Public Health Sciences.

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