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Institute For Preventive Foot Health A Sponsor of National Limb Loss Awareness Month April 2012

Limb Loss is a Major Risk for African Americans, People with Diabetes and Smokers

(Monday, April 16, 2012 – Statesville, NC) - The Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH) is a major sponsor of National Limb Loss Awareness Month, supporting the efforts of the Amputee Coalition.

IPFH is supporting many of the Coalition’s initiatives planned for April, which include a Limb Loss Education Day in Atlanta and distribution of one million educational postcards with preventive foot health tips throughout the U.S.

Each year, there are 185,000 amputations in the U.S., largely due to vascular disease; 60% or more are preventable. More than two million Americans currently live with limb loss, a number expected to double by 2050 unless a major public awareness campaign and key preventive initiatives are launched, according to the Amputee Coalition.

“Limb loss is preventable,” said Terrence Sheehan, MD, IPFH Scientific Advisor and Director of the Amputee Program/Chief Medical Officer at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland.  “This month-long series of activities is focused on the fact that if people take care of their feet they can prevent conditions that lead to amputation.  We know that mobility is a key to overall health and we encourage everyone to take focused care of their feet, clearing the way for exercise and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.”

Kendra Calhoun, Amputee Coalition president and CEO said, “Limb loss affects every generation and people from all walks of life. Statistics show that those at greatest risk are people who have diabetes or a vascular impairment such as peripheral arterial disease.  If you are a smoker, your risk of limb loss increases 25 times. African Americans are four times more likely to lose a limb than non-Hispanic white people.”

The 2012 Amputee Coalition campaign theme, “Take a Seat; Check Your Feet,” encourages people to check their feet regularly. Foot ulcers often result in amputation if they are not cared for properly. The introduction of comprehensive preventive foot care, including regular visits with a podiatrist, has been associated with reducing diabetes-related amputations by up to 80%, according to the Amputee Coalition.

IPFH, in conjunction with NPD Group, Inc., a global research organization, produced the 2009 National Foot Health Assessment. It is reported that a staggering 88% of adults in the U.S. have experienced foot pain or foot problems serious enough to interfere with their ability to work, exercise and/or enjoy a full, healthy lifestyle. 

IPFH recommends that people inspect their feet daily for lesions, which should be treated; that toenails be trimmed carefully; and that properly fitted shoes and padded socks be worn at all times.  Shoes should be rotated, allowing each pair to dry out between each wearing. (See the IPFH Foot Health Tips)

Facts About Limb Loss:

  • There are nearly two million people living with limb loss in the United States.
  • Among those living with limb loss, the main causes are vascular disease (54%) – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma (45%) and cancer (less than 2%).
  • Approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year.
  • In 2009, hospital costs associated with amputation totaled more than $8.3 billion.
  • African‐Americans are up to four times more likely to have an amputation than white Americans.

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.

About IPFH

The Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, education, research, and the identification of easy-to-follow methods to prevent, treat and manage painful conditions and diseases affecting the feet. IPFH was founded by James L. Throneburg, owner of THORLO, Inc., based on knowledge gained from groundbreaking clinical research conducted with novel padded sock designs donated by THORLO. Both Throneburg and THORLO, Inc. continue to provide financial support for IPFH and to initiate collaborative efforts with the organization’s educational partners: the Amputee Coalition and the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA).

To learn more about IPFH and/or arrange interviews, please contact:

Debra Caruso
DJC Communications
(212) 971-9708

Marilynn Larkin
Institute for Preventive Foot Health

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