Black, Hispanic Diabetics Need Better Preventive Care

Minorities receive fewer flu shots and eye, cholesterol tests, study finds

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MONDAY, June 13, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Black and Hispanic diabetic patients in the United States are less likely than white patients to get eye exams, cholesterol tests or flu shots as part of prevention care to help them avoid diabetes-related health complications, according to a review of recent studies.

Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers analyzed 36 studies published between 1993 and 2003. Three of those studies found that rates of flu vaccinations for black diabetics were between 8 and 29 percent lower than for whites.

Six studies found that minority patients received 3.4 to 19 percent fewer cholesterol tests than white patients did. Five of the studies found that minority patients had up to 8 percent fewer eye exams than white patients.

The review did not find any consistent differences between minority and white diabetics for preventive care measures such as foot exams and counseling to quit smoking.

The researchers did not specifically identify reasons for the different rates of certain kinds of preventive care between minorities and whites. However, they suggested that language differences, socioeconomic factors and "potential bias in health care delivered by providers" may all be factors.

The review appears in the latest issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

More information

The U.S. National Diabetes Education Program offers advice on lifelong diabetes control.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, June 8, 2005

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