Black and Latino Diabetics Lag Whites in Glycemic Control

Among older diabetics, improving medication adherence may help correct some of disparity

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, blacks and Latinos older than 55 with diabetes mellitus have worse glycemic control than whites -- a racial disparity partly attributable to potentially modifiable factors such as medication adherence and emotional distress, according to study findings published in the Sept. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Michele Heisler, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,901 individuals aged 55 and older with diabetes mellitus to investigate racial and ethnic differences in blood sugar control and contributing factors.

Black and Latino respondents had significantly worse glycemic control than white respondents. Mean glycosylated hemoglobin values were 8.07 in blacks and 8.14 in Latinos, compared to 7.22 in whites. Medication adherence was lower in blacks and diabetes-specific emotional distress was higher in Latinos compared to whites.

"These findings suggest useful targets for interventions seeking to reduce racial/ethnic disparities and to improve overall diabetes outcomes," the authors write. "However, this extensive set of socioeconomic, clinical, health care and self-management measures still explained only a small portion of the racial/ethnic disparities in glycemic control. The major contributors to the large and recalcitrant disparities in glycemic control remain elusive."

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