A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found the age-adjusted rate of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations was 3.9 per 1,000 people with diagnosed diabetes in 2008 compared with 11.2 per 1,000 in 1996.
Non-traumatic lower-limb amputations refer to those caused by circulatory problems that are a common complication among people with diabetes rather than amputations caused by injuries, officials explained.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, found among people with diagnosed diabetes in 2008, men had higher age-adjusted rates of leg and foot amputations than women at 6 per 1,000 versus 1.9 per 1,000, and blacks had higher rates than whites at 4.9 per 1,000 versus 2.9 per 1,000.
Adults age 75 and older had the highest rate at 6.2 per 1,000 compared to other age groups.
"The significant drop in rates of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes is certainly encouraging, but more work is needed to reduce the disparities among certain populations," Nilka Rios Burrows, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said in a statement. "We must continue to increase awareness of the devastating health complications of diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of lower-limb amputations in the United States."