The diabetic foot: epidemiology

Rays. Oct-Dec 1997;22(4):511-23.
[Article in English, Italian]


The epidemiology of the diabetic foot is still unknown because this heterogeneous pathologic condition is non uniformly classified and described. Lower limb peripheral vascular disease has a preferential distal location strongly associated with the classical factors of cardiovascular risk. Ulcers occur in 15% of diabetics and 6-20% of all hospitalized diabetic patients are affected by ulcers of the foot. There is a predictive feature of the severity of the ulcer in relation to its location. In the USA, ischemia-related amputations are about 200 per million per year for non diabetics as against 3900 per million for diabetics; furthermore the incidence of a second amputation rises to 51% 5 years after first amputation. Risk factors for amputation are: smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, elderly age, glycosylated hemoglobin levels. Although mortality has decreased in the last 50 years, the diabetic foot is still a huge economic problem.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amputation
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Diabetic Foot / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Foot / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology