Amputations of Body Parts: Combination of Diabetes & Gout Significantly Increases Risk

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Diabetes mellitus and gout are ranked among the most common metabolic disorders in Western industrialized countries: According to figures published by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 60 million Europeans suffer from diabetes and 18 million Europeans suffer from gout. "Gout is increasingly being linked to unfavorable cardiovascular, renal and metabolic complications, and now amputation risks," says EULAR president Professor Iain B. McInnes from Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain. In a current study, Brian Lamoreaux, MD, MS from Lake Forest/USA showed how high the risk of amputations of outer limbs is by evaluating 190 million data sets from a patient database.

The research team divided the patients into four groups according to their medical records: patients with gout; patients with diabetes; patient with both gout and diabetes; and patients with neither disease. Afterward, they compared how many patients from each group required amputation of the outer limbs. The amputation rate of patients suffering from neither of those diseases was 0.03 percent. By contrast, the amputation rate of patients with gout rose to 0.16 percent. For people suffering only from diabetes, the value trebled to 0.46 percent. "Patients suffering from either gout or diabetes have a significantly increased risk of amputation. In patients with both diseases, this effect is further amplified," says Dr. LaMoreaux. According to the results of his study, the amputation rate among patients with both diabetes and gout is 0.77 percent, compared to 0.03 percent in the control group.

Professor John Isaacs, Chair of the Scientific Programme Committee of EULAR, emphasizes that these results are of highest relevance for daily clinical practice: "The more we know about the risks and complications of diabetes and gout, the more specifically we can inform patients and optimize therapeutic strategies to possibly prevent serious surgeries such as amputations." According to the expert, the loss of a part of the body is particularly hard for many people, furthering the urgency to properly manage both conditions.

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