Rate of Undiagnosed Diabetes Cases Among Hispanic, Black Men Declining, Study Finds
Black and Hispanic men no longer are less likely than whites to be unaware that they have diabetes, according to a report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Reuters reports.
For the report, RAND researcher James Smith tracked all diabetes cases in U.S. men during three periods beginning in 1976 and ending in 2002. Among Hispanic men, 65% with diabetes were undiagnosed during the period from 1976 to 1980, compared with 21% during the period from 1999 to 2002, according to the study. The rate of undiagnosed cases among black men fell from 45% from 1988 to 1994, to 24% during the 1999 to 2002 period.
Overall, 48% of diabetes cases in all U.S. men during the period from 1976 to 1980 were undiagnosed, compared to 22% during the 1999 to 2002 period. The study did not look at women's rates of undiagnosed diabetes because the government survey data used for the study did not consistently account for gestational diabetes. However, Smith said the survey results suggest that women's rates also are declining. He added that public health education efforts that encourage minorities to be tested for diabetes have been effective in eliminating the racial and ethnic disparities among U.S. men with undiagnosed diabetes.
He said the findings also suggest that the increase of diabetes among U.S. residents might not be as dramatic as some experts have predicted. "People talk about a doubling in the prevalence rates of diabetes. It is a serious disease and it is, in fact, increasing. But it's increasing more like 50% rather than doubling," Smith said (Dunham, Reuters, 8/13).