Fewer diabetes patients needing amputations

One of the worst complications of diabetes is a leg amputation, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that fewer people than ever before are losing limbs to the disease, Fox News reports.

Since the mid-1990s, the rate of amputations caused by diabetes has dropped by more than half, the report states. Among older diabetics, about four in every 1,000 people needs an amputation, whereas before about 11 people per 1,000 needed this operation.

"What jumped out to me was the scale of the improvement," Dr. John Buse, a University of North Carolina diabetes expert, told the news outlet.

The falling rate of lost limbs is not thanks to fewer diabetics. In fact, between 1988 and 2008, the number of people with diabetes nearly tripled, though the rate of amputations fell. The CDC noted that a higher proportion of diabetics got annual foot exams starting in the 1990s.

Enhanced care as well as patient education are likely the main reasons behind the improvement in diabetes care, the news outlet reports. Experts also point out that Medicare began paying for blood sugar monitoring, protective shoes and other medical devices for seniors in the '90s.