Epidemiological studies have shown that Latinos have a 2-2.5 times higher prevalence of diabetes than Caucasians. Latinos also have higher rates of microvascular complications and mortality. The disproportionate rate of diabetes and its complications that are sweeping the Latino population demand that we search for treatment barriers. Accordingly, we analyzed the clinical characteristics and the glycemic, blood pressure, and lipid status at presentation and during follow-up in patients attending the Grady Diabetes Clinic (GDC). A total of 3,880 new patients, 3,429 blacks (88.4%), 210 whites (5.4%), and 167 Latinos (4.3%), attended the GDC during 1/1/2000 to 12/30/03.
In summary, Latinos are younger and leaner and present with poorer glycemic control. Less than 50% and 25% of Latinos returned for a 6- and 12-month follow-up visit, respectively. Patients who attended clinic, however, achieved similar glycemic control compared to other ethnic groups. Our results indicate that lack of follow-up is a major obstacle in providing care to the Latino community. Comprehensive and culturally appropriate diabetes education programs are needed to improve care of Latinos with diabetes.
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