Study uncovers racial disparities in diabetic complications among underinsured

Diabetes is among the ten leading causes of death in both white and African American patients, but the prevalence of diabetic complications are race-specific, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

"This study is one of only a few to assess whether there is a racial difference in the incidence of diabetic complications," said Gang Hu, MD, PhD, of Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and lead author of the study. "Our findings suggest that despite equal access to care, African American diabetic patients experienced higher rates of end-stage renal failure, but lower rates of coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke than did white diabetic patients."

The large-scale study involved nearly 100,000 diabetic participants who received care at the Louisiana State University Hospital. The cohort included 16,80 non-Hispanic white men, 21,983 non-Hispanic white women, 20,621 African American men, and 33,753 African American women who were 30-96 years of age and had a mean value of family income of $9,641 per year. In addition to racial disparities, the study also found that female diabetic patients had lower of the four complications than did male diabetic .

"The results from the current study must be confirmed from population-based studies," said Hu. "The impact of poverty on these adverse outcomes also must be better understood and addressed."

More information: The article, "Racial Disparities in Diabetic Complications in an Underinsured Population," appears in the December 2012 issue of JCEM.

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