Health News Roundup

A growing number of diabetic amputations among people of color, and more in this week’s roundup

To get these headlines delivered to your inbox every week, sign up for our weekly health news roundup.

Medical experts sound the alarm on growing diabetic amputations among Black patients
Steve Osunsami, Lindsey Griswold, Milan Miller, and Ivan Pereira, ABC News, Feb. 19
More and more diabetics are receiving amputations due to complications from type-2 diabetes. The preventable complication is more common among Black and Latino patients, who are also more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Medical professionals said these patients often miss out on critical care because of a lack of awareness of treatments. A health study published in September found Black and Latino diabetics are four times more likely to get an amputation than other ethnicities. “Very often, their symptoms are ignored,” said Dr. Richard Browne, a cardiologist who experienced the problem firsthand with his diabetic father-in-law.

Major cause of maternal mortality diagnosed too late. Here’s why
Eduardo Cuevas, USA Today, Feb. 16
Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal mortality but it often goes unnoticed. Doctors typically do not identify the serious form of high blood pressure developed during pregnancy until it has already caused damage. When detected that late, it can lead to preterm labor, which results in consequences for babies and mothers. Women of color are at much greater risk of developing the condition. An initiative announced this month aims to detect and treat preeclampsia earlier. Treatment can be as simple as prescribing aspirin. Nearly a third of pregnant people who died during delivery had a hypertensive disorder, a category that includes preeclampsia.

Addressing misconceptions around food insecurity: ‘It’s about more than food’
Katie Pellico and Catherine Shen, Connecticut Public Radio, Feb. 20
In Connecticut, a family of four would need more than $126,000 to meet just basic needs, about four times the federal poverty level. 1 in 10 Connecticut residents experiences food insecurity. “Food insecurity isn’t happening in a vacuum,” said Dr. Caitlin Caspi an associate professor at UConn. “It’s really intersecting with a lot of other challenges that people face.” That includes stable housing, health insurance, job security, disability, and other factors. In the U.S. 12.8% of households are impacted by food insecurity.

Black people have the highest rates of death from heart disease. Could more Black cardiologists help?
Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, Feb. 19
When Elston Harris of Chicago had a heart attack in 2017 he was referred to a cardiologist who gave him a “game plan” that included putting God first, eating healthy and concentrating on his checkups. However Harris said he felt most comfortable because the doctor looked like him. “You’re a lot more comfortable with people who walk in similar footsteps.” A 2021 report found that only 4.2% of cardiologists are Black. Experts suggest more Black cardiologists could mean better heart health for Black adults, 60% of whom have heart disease and who have higher heart disease death rates than other racial and ethnic groups.

America’s drug overdose crisis has profound ripple effects
Caitlin Owens, Axios, Feb. 22
A new study found that more than 4 in 10 Americans personally know someone who has died of a drug overdose and about 13% of the population has had their lives disrupted as a result. More than 100,000 people die from overdoses a year in the U.S. and this study sheds light on the epidemic’s reach into American life. Although there’s limited research specifically on the impact of overdose losses, traumatic bereavement in general is known to have an adverse impact on physical health, mental health and substance use.