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West Tennessee Leads the Nation in Diabetic Amputations

By Deneisha Pearson
By dpearson@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. -- Legraine Poston says diabetes cost him his leg.

He had suffered from the disease for five years before his right leg was taken.

"It's either was that or set up gangrene and then once gangrene set in wouldn't have to worry about cutting nothing off (What would've happened if you got Gangrene?) I would've been dead," Poston said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Poston is among 31 percent of West Tennesseans a year who lose a limb due to diabetes.

That is compared to only 20 percent for the rest of the United States.

"Not good, not good at all for real but, it is what it is you know," Poston said.

The American Diabetes Association is using November to raising awareness of the disease.

Melissa Walls said it must start with West Tennesseans taking advantage of healthcare.

"We have a higher rate of people who don't have a primary care provider," Walls said. "People who don't go to their doctor and get regular physicals and annual exams are not gonna know they have certain diseases like diabetes."

Poston said despite losing one of his limbs, he is not a victim.

"I'm here so that's the good thing," Poston said. "That's the good thing about it, I'm here."