Diabetics see dramatic increase in lower limb amputations

Colorado Springs, Colo. (September 13, 2006) -- Many people suffering foot and leg pain falsely attribute their aches to temporary discomfort or simply "growing old," when something far more serious and often preventable is frequently taking place.

People that neglect foot and leg pain particularly the 20.8 million people in the U.S. with diabetes can be at risk for amputation. This neglect has contributed to a sharp rise in amputations, with the Centers for Disease Control finding the number of diabetes-related lower limb amputations to have increased by 227 percent between 1980 (33,000) and 2003 (75,000).

Diabetics are prone to amputation as the condition often causes blood vessels in the foot and leg to narrow, causing poor circulation. This makes diabetics susceptible to infection, making it difficult for these wounds to heal. In fact, nine out of 10 non-traumatic lower extremity amputations are instigated by an infection, according to a study led by Texas A&M University. The American Diabetes Association says that diabetes is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations.

The unfortunate result of these trends is that each year, 75,000 people lose their foot, leg or toe due to diabetes, and 85 percent of these losses could have been avoided, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

New Laser Treatment is an Option in the Fight Against Amputation
Physicians now have a new tool in the fight against amputation. The CLiRpath "cool" excimer laser and catheter procedure vaporizes total arterial blockages that cannot be crossed by standard guidewires (small, flexible wires used to position catheters) in leg and foot arteries, restoring straightline blood flow, which promotes healing. Developed by Spectranetics Corp. (NASDAQ: SPNC), the minimally invasive CLiRpath procedure often enables patients to leave the hospital the day after the treatment. CLiRpath has been the subject of rigorous

Contact: Ken Hunter

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