Los Angeles has one of the highest diabetes-related amputation rates in the country. Yet vascular surgeon Dr. George Andros can't seem to draw enough attention to the problem, which has skyrocketed not just here but nationally. "It's not sexy," he acknowledges. "Who cares about diabetic feet? It has no sizzle."
Over the last 15 years, the U.S. rate of foot amputations from complications of diabetes has soared, approaching 100,000 annually, according to studies and government statistics. Diabetic amputees are often racial minorities, poor, obese or elderly, according to government data. Amputation prevention requires vigilance -- and often expensive medical care.