How does the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) differ among racial and ethnic groups?

Updated: Oct 23, 2019
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus varies widely among various racial and ethnic groups. The image below shows data for various populations. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is more prevalent among Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans, and Asians/Pacific Islanders than in non-Hispanic whites. Indeed, the disease is becoming virtually pandemic in some groups of Native Americans and Hispanic people. The risk of retinopathy and nephropathy appears to be greater in blacks, Native Americans, and Hispanics.

Prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in various Prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in various racial and ethnic groups in the United States (2007-2009 data).

In a study by Selvin et al, differences between blacks and whites were noted in many glycemic markers and not just the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level. [64] This suggests real differences in glycemia, rather than in the hemoglobin glycation process or erythrocyte turnover, between blacks and whites.


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