the Northeast or urban areas, the study found.
The increased odds for amputation for people in rural areas is consistent with other studies that have reported poorer health outcomes for residents of rural areas. Researchers says this could be due to less access to specialized diabetes-related medical care, fewer health care providers, lower rates of health insurance coverage, lower-income and limited public transit.
“If an individual doesn’t have health insurance, they’re less likely to get a regular check, and if the blood sugar is already out of control, the individual may not be aware or able to get care in a timely manner,” Akinlotan says.
Potential solutions include comprehensive ongoing care of patients with diabetes and a better understanding of the cultural factors that are at play, particularly among ethnic groups and Southerners, according to Akinlotan.
These findings could help policymakers and health care providers offer more targeted interventions, including telehealth and web-based diabetes care and education.
The results are not surprising, Alper says. Diabetes experts have been aware of the increases in certain types of amputation and that they’re happening in an uneven way, depending on race, economic situation and location.
The problem also has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic as some people have been afraid to go to doctor appointments.
Individuals who have a family history of uncontrolled diabetes or diabetes-related amputation are more likely to experience that themselves. The reality is that health care is less available in poorer, more rural areas, which means patients are not getting early intervention or good quality diabetes control. The wide availability of sugary drinks and the high cost of a diabetes-controlling diet add to