Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Diabetes, race and children
As in adult diabetics, hemoglobin (Hb) A1c levels are higher in black children with type 1 disease than in white children, independent of mean blood glucose, according to a new report. The authors of the report have long been interested in between-individual differences in HbA1c levels. Spurred by reports indicating a role for race and ethnicity in adult diabetic variables, the scientists looked for a similar pattern in their pediatric patients. Their study included 276 children (72% Caucasian, 28% African-American) with an average age of 12.5 years and an average disease duration of 4.9 years. Slightly more than half were girls. Average HbA1c was significantly higher among African Americans than Caucasians after controlling for mean blood glucose, age, and diabetes duration: 9.1% vs 8.3%, respectively (p < 0.001). These findings may help explain why African Americans are at increased risk of diabetes complications, the authors suggest. The researchers advise that both HbA1c and mean blood glucose be taken into account when making therapeutic decisions for diabetics, especially for African Americans.