The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism Journal Article

Diabetes Subgroups, Race/Ethnicity, and Risk

May 10, 2021
 

Michael P Bancks, Alain G Bertoni, Mercedes Carnethon, Haiying Chen, Mary Frances Cotch, Unjali P Gujral, David Herrington, Alka M Kanaya, Moyses Szklo, Dhananjay Vaidya, Namratha R Kandula
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 106, Issue 5, May 2021, Pages e2106–e2115
https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa962

Abstract

Introduction

There are known disparities in diabetes complications by race and ethnicity. Although diabetes subgroups may contribute to differential risk, little is known about how subgroups vary by race/ethnicity.

Methods

Data were pooled from 1293 (46% female) participants of the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) who had diabetes (determined by diabetes medication use, fasting glucose, and glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c]), including 217 South Asian, 240 non-Hispanic white, 125 Chinese, 387 African American, and 324 Hispanic patients. We applied k-means clustering using data for age at diabetes diagnosis, body mass index, HbA1c, and homeostatic model assessment measures of insulin resistance and beta cell function. We assessed whether diabetes subgroups were associated with race/ethnicity, concurrent cardiovascular disease risk factors, and incident diabetes complications.

Results

Five diabetes subgroups were characterized by older age at diabetes onset (43%), severe hyperglycemia (26%), severe obesity (20%), younger age at onset (1%), and requiring insulin medication use (9%). The most common subgroup assignment was older onset for all race/ethnicities with the exception of South Asians where the severe hyperglycemia subgroup was most likely. Risk for renal complications and subclinical coronary disease differed by diabetes subgroup and, separately, race/ethnicity.

Conclusions

Racial/ethnic differences were present across diabetes subgroups, and diabetes subgroups differed in risk for complications. Strategies to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in complications may need to consider approaches targeted to diabetes subgroup.

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