The racial or ethnic group of diabetic patients influences the prognosis of the disease


Professor and researcher of the Faculty of Nursing and Podiatry of UV, Yasmín Ezzatvar, in collaboration with researchers from other centers, concludes that the racial or ethnic group of patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus influences the disease prognosis, due to differences in mortality, risk of kidney disease, or risk of cardiovascular disease. In their research, they analyzed data from 2,416,516 people diagnosed. This is the first study to quantify these differences.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar and is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Compared to healthy people, diabetic patients have a shorter life expectancy which is directly attributed to the development of complications related to high blood sugar, excess free fatty acids and insulin resistance. The study published in the journal Diabetología, ranked among the 10 most relevant in the Endocrinology and Metabolism category in the JCR and with an impact factor of 10.1, showed that there is a greater risk of presenting diabetic complications depending on the racial or ethnic group of the patient.

The study indicates that, compared to white people, people of Maori ethnicity had an 88% higher risk of death from all causes, Hispanic American patients have a lower risk of suffering from macrovascular complications of diabetes such as cardiovascular disease, and blacks have a 54% increased risk of end-stage kidney disease. No difference was found in the risk of other complications, such as amputations, among people of other racial or ethnic groups.

Therefore, the study authors consider that “the use of racial / ethnic categories should be included in international clinical guidelines, at least until other more precise predictors are available.” In this way, knowing the susceptibility of developing certain clinical complications associated with specific racial or ethnic groups will not only help identify patients at greatest risk, but will also allow the medical community to take a further step towards the goal of greater specific to “Identify inter-individual differences, even within each racial / ethnic group”, which would allow personalization and individualization of treatment for each patient.

Yasmín Ezzatvar, with Robinson Ramírez-Vélez and Mikel Izquierdo (Public University of Navarre-UPNA) and Antonio García-Hermoso (Navarrabiomed), also add that the current scientific literature includes studies where many racial / ethnic groups are very under-represented , which is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

This is the first study to analyze and quantify racial / ethnic differences in the risk of developing complications from diabetes.

Ezzatvar considers that “this type of study contributes a little better to our understanding of this disease, and highlights the complexity of clinical management and treatment decisions in patients diagnosed with diabetes, including clinical presentation, response to treatment and development micro and macrovascular complications may differ“.


Journal reference:

Ezzatvar, Y., et al. (2021) Racial differences in all-cause mortality and future complications in people with diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from more than 2.4 million people. Diabetology.


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