By Nurse Alice, blackenterprise.com
One of the tests used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes and monitor blood sugar control is influenced by 60 genetic variants, an international team of scientists has discovered. One genetic variant in particular, found only in African Americans, significantly reduces the accuracy of the HbA1c blood test used to diagnose and monitor the condition. This means around 650,000 African Americans in the U.S. could have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes if tested with the HbA1c test alone.
The results, published in PLOS Medicine suggest screening for the particular genetic variant alongside the diagnostic test, or using other diagnostic tests in populations with African ancestry in order to improve diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 100 million U.S. adults living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. There are 30.3 million Americans who have diabetes and another 84.1 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to Type 2 diabetes within five years.
According to the US Department Office of Minority Health, the prevalence rate of diabetes in African Americans is 13.4%. African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. In addition, they are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease and lower extremity amputations.