In the United States, the burden of diabetes falls disproportionately on racial and ethnic minorities. For example, rates of eye disease due to diabetes are 3 times higher for Hispanic/Latinos compared to Whites. To reduce the burden of diabetes and the risk of serious complications such as eye and kidney disease, experts create guidance for doctors. This highlights the most effective approaches to prevention and treatment based on the results from clinical research studies. It is regularly updated. In a recent study, researchers looked to see whether racial and ethnic disparities exist in the use of guidelines to direct the care of people with diabetes.
Results from the National Health Interview Survey
Researchers compared 7,341 Hispanic/Latino, Black, and White adults in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 2011 through 2017. The NHIS is a national survey which began in 1957. In this study, the focus was on people developing diabetes within the previous 5 years. From the interviews, Hispanic/Latinos had lower rates of having health insurance (76%) than Whites (93%) and Blacks (88%). Also, Hispanic/Latinos were less likely to have had an eye exam to look for early diabetes complications or a blood pressure check compared to White adults with diabetes. These findings were not related to income.
Eye screenings for Hispanic/Latinos with diabetes
We know that Hispanic/Latinos and other racial/ethnic minorities are more likely to experience bias from health care providers. Also, discrimination from providers is linked to decreased rates of routine visits where preventive services are offered. Additional discrimination from providers could also be due to barriers related to language or insurance coverage.
In conclusion, Hispanic/Latinos recently diagnosed with diabetes do not receive guideline-directed eye care and blood pressure measurements compared to Whites.
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