Knoxville, Tenn. (April 11, 2011) – Each day 507 people lose a limb, largely to vascular-related diseases, and 60 percent are preventable. Because of these alarming statistics, Minnesota has joined other states throughout the country to declare April as Limb Loss Awareness Month.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the proclamation which encourages all citizens in the State of Minnesota to “recognize the importance of this month and celebrate those with limb loss and limb difference to express full and productive lives, express gratitude to caregivers who are a source of support and motivation and salute combat amputees who have lost their limbs through service to our country.”
The Amputee Coalition, a Knoxville-based nonprofit, is sponsoring a nationwide awareness campaign with April as Limb Loss Awareness Month and offering an online risk assessmentfor limb loss.
“Limb loss is not uncommon and, sadly, becoming less uncommon every day,” said Leslie Pitt Schneider, Minneapolis resident and board member of the Amputee Coalition. “More than 2 million Americans live with limb loss and that number grows by 185,000 each year.”
During the month of April across the United States, amputee support groups, veterans, prosthetists, rehabilitation centers and those with limb loss will be participating in a number of activities in their local areas to raise awareness.
• The main causes of limb loss are vascular disease (54 percent), trauma (45 percent) and cancer (less than 2 percent).
• 60 percent of limb loss is preventable.
• Diabetes and vascular disease are the leading causes of limb loss.
• In 2008, hospital charges associated with having a limb amputated totaled more than $7.2 billion in healthcare costs.
• Nearly 60 percent of the amputation procedures performed in 2008 were paid for by Medicaid and Medicare, totaling more than $5.2 billion in healthcare costs.
• 600 children lose a limb due to lawnmower accidents each year.
• African Americans are four times more likely to lose a limb than non-Hispanic white persons.
• 75 percent of pediatric amputations are due to trauma.
Limb Loss Awareness Month designates a specific time to:
• Provide support for individuals within the limb loss community
• Raise public awareness about limb loss education; provide education and prevention information to both the limb loss community and the rest of the population
• Provide an opportunity for individuals to discuss quality of life and other issues they face with the public, legislators and the media
• Recognize the contributions of military veteran amputees.
As part of Limb Loss Awareness Month, the Amputee Coalition urges people to go to the Limb Loss Awareness Month Web site to take the Limb Loss Risk Test. Learn your probability for limb loss by taking this quick and easy online test.
“Many people are unaware of the causes of amputation and often see limb loss in just a few categories: the wounded warrior or the accomplished athlete,” added Schneider. “The fact is, limb loss affects every generation, from young to old and people from all walks of life. Those at greatest risk are people who have diabetes or a vascular impairment such as peripheral arterial disease. Cancer is also a cause of limb loss, but traumatic limb loss can happen to anyone – from lawnmower and farm equipment accidents to motorcycle and car accidents.”
The Amputee Coalition is the national nonprofit organization serving more than 2 million people with limb loss and more than 28 million people at risk for amputation. This year, the Amputee Coalition is proudly celebrating 25 years of service.
For more information: amputee-coalition.org or call 888/267-5669.