Objective: Although lower-extremity disease (LED), which includes lower-extremity peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and peripheral neuropathy (PN), is disabling and costly, no nationally representative estimates of its prevalence exist. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of lower-extremity PAD, PN, and overall LED in the overall U.S. population and among those with and without diagnosed diabetes.
Research design and methods: The analysis consisted of data for 2873 men and women aged >or=40 years, including 419 with diagnosed diabetes, from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The main outcome measures consisted of the prevalence of lower-extremity PAD (defined as ankle-brachial index <0.9), PN (defined as >or=1 insensate area based on monofilament testing), and of any LED (defined as either PAD, PN, or history of foot ulcer or lower-extremity amputations).
Results: Of the U.S. population aged >or=40 years, 4.5% (95% CI 3.4-5.6) have lower-extremity PAD, 14.8% (12.8-16.8) have PN, and 18.7% (15.9-21.4) have any LED. Prevalence of PAD, PN, and overall LED increases steeply with age and is higher (P < 0.05) in non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans than non-Hispanic whites. The prevalence of LEDs is approximately twice as high for individuals with diagnosed diabetes (PAD 9.5% [5.5-13.4]; PN 28.5% [22.0-35.1]; any LED 30.2% [22.1-38.3]) as the overall population.
Conclusions: LED is common in the U.S. and twice as high among individuals with diagnosed diabetes. These conditions disproportionately affect the elderly, non-Hispanic blacks, and Mexican Americans.