Hispanics Have Higher Levels on Test That Measures Blood Sugar Control, Study Finds
Among those with diabetes, Hispanics had higher levels than non-Hispanic whites on a test that indicates how well patients are controlling their blood sugar, according to a study in the February issue of Diabetes Care, the Winston Salem Journal reports. The A1C test measures hemoglobin levels that are linked with glucose; higher A1C values indicate that patients have difficulty controlling their blood sugar.
For the study, lead author Julienne Kirk, an associate professor of family and community medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and colleagues looked at 11 studies containing results of A1C tests for Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites ages 18 and older. The patients were not considered to have prediabetes or gestational diabetes. The study also found that "the largest difference for A1C was among [people enrolled in] nonmanaged care insurance groups," Kirk said.
Kirk said, "We were not surprised by these findings, since ethnic minorities in the United States are disproportionately affected by diabetes. We found a similar trend in the African-American population with diabetes a year ago."
She added, "A high percentage of Hispanics in this country have low incomes, no health insurance and limited access to health care. The Hispanic population has a high prevalence of diabetes and higher A1C than non-Hispanic whites. This further elucidates the health disparities that characterize the Hispanic population."
According to Kirk, communication issues and a lack of trust in the health system might prevent some Hispanics from adequately controlling their diabetes. She said that the study could lead to early treatment and awareness of how diabetes affects Hispanics. She added, "It may mean a change in attitude in how Hispanics are treated for signs of diabetes" (Craver, Winston Salem Journal, 2/16).
A study abstract is available online.