Underserved populations without proper medical insurance are at a higher risk of serious diabetes complications related to not getting diagnosed right away.
More about type 2 diabetes complications
Type 2 diabetes can lead to many complications. A third of people with diabetes have not been diagnosed yet. It can take four to seven years to get diagnosed with diabetes. At the time of diagnosis, a lot of these people have already developed complications from diabetes. These complications include eye disease, kidney disease, hypoglycemia, neuropathy, and heart disease. In the United States, type 2 diabetes is more common in minorities, like Latinos and non-Latino blacks. These populations face many obstacles in getting proper care to manage their diabetes. For example, they might not have a job that provides insurance, they might not have transportation for doctor visits, or they might have limited access to healthcare.
This study looked at the differences in the rate of diabetes and complications across different ethnicities and income levels. They looked at newly diagnosed adults with type 2 diabetes from ethnic minorities (mostly Latinos and non-Latino blacks). This group was made up of people who were unemployed, did not have proper health insurance, and almost a third did not speak English. They faced many social and financial challenges that impacted their diabetes and its complications. The researchers found a very high rate of diabetes complications already present at the time of diagnosis within this group. For example, microvascular complications (which means damage to small blood vessels that could effect the eyes, kidneys, and nerves) were present in 50.1% of the adults from this group. Also, high blood pressure was present in 69.4%. These serious complications can lead to higher risk of kidney failure, amputation, or death in the long term.
In conclusion, underserved patients without proper medical insurance are at a higher risk of developing diabetes complications related to not getting diagnosed immediately compared to those with better medical insurance and of different ethnicities. Within underinsured minority populations, it is very common to have already developed diabetes complications at the time of actual diagnosis that can lead to worse outcomes and serious complications in the long term.