Glucose-independent Racial Disparity In Hba1c Is Evident At Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes

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Journal of Diabetes and its Complications


Objective: Higher levels of HbA1c, independent of blood glucose levels, have been described in Blacks compared to Whites patients with established diabetes. The goal of this study was to determine if glucose-independent racial disparity in HbA1C is evident at diabetes onset. Research design and methods: We conducted a retrospective single-center chart review of 189 youth with new onset Type 1 diabetes (T1D) 60 % Whites and 40 % Blacks. HbA1c, glucose and other biochemistry measures were obtained at presentation in the Emergency Department before initiation of any therapy. HbA1c levels were adjusted for presenting glucose, self-identified race, age, gender, hematocrit, and RDW-CV. Results: Blacks with T1D had statistically significant higher unadjusted HbA1c (11.9 ± 1.9 vs 11.04 ± 2.0 %, p = 0.004), initial glucose (530.6 ± 230.4 vs 442 ± 211.3 mg/dL, p = 0.0075) and lower pHs (7.28 ± 0.15 vs 7.33 ± 0.12, p = 0.02) compared to white patients. Least squares means of HbA1c remained higher in Black patients even after statistical adjustment for presenting glucose, age, gender, RDW-CV, and pH. In a multiple variable model (R2 = 0.38, p < 0.0001) c-peptide was influenced by HCO3 (p = 0.0035), gender (p = 0.0092), BMI (p < 0.0001), but not race or glucose. Conclusions: HbA1c at initial presentation of T1D is higher in young Black patients compared to Whites even after adjustment for glucose, age, gender, and RDW-CV. This racial disparity is consistent with other studies in individuals without diabetes and patients with long-standing diabetes under treatment.

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