As we approach the sixth month of a global pandemic, health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
A health condition that’s disproportionately plagued the Black communities for years is diabetes, and to no one’s surprise, the healthcare world isn’t grasping it correctly. According to a ProPublica story, Black Americans with diabetes lose limbs at a rate triple that of others.
But now, the American Diabetes Association is ready to do something about it and started an initiative to prevent unnecessary amputations as part of an unprecedented campaign to reduce racial disparities in diabetes care thanks to ProPublica shining a light on the shocking statistics.
“The ProPublica article raised the consciousness of what the problem is,” said Tracey Brown, the CEO of the ADA. “Every four minutes, someone is losing a limb from diabetic complications. That’s ridiculous. We have got to find a way to drive change.”
The story included that the government wouldn’t allow for prevention treatment or tests that would catch the condition earlier to prevent lifelong damage, That includes screening at-risk patients for vascular disease in the legs, and not pushing doctors and practices to open up in urban areas, and even considering other options before going under the knife.
Some doctors are fighting to change this stigma, namely Dr. Foluso Fakorede, who has saved patients from having to get a foot amputated and instead only had to remove a toe– preserving their quality of life.
“I do know people who’ve had limbs amputated,” she said. “It’s really sad, and a lot of us are Black, you know? A lot of African Americans are losing limbs.”
The dangerous and undertreated side effect of diabetes has even reached the Society for Vascular Surgery, who also wants knowledge of the complications to be highlighted.
“I commend the ADA for doubling down on this particular complication of poorly managed diabetes. It’s a long overdue prioritization,” says Society for Vascular Surgery president Dr. Ronald Dalman. He added that it’s a “moment in time where we can leverage this concern about health care disparities to call out a very specific problem: the prevalence of amputation in certain subsets of the population.”