Archive for the ‘Medscape’ Category

Ethnicity, Metabolism and Vascular Function: From Biology to Culture

March 29, 2012 Comments off

Ethnicity, Metabolism and Vascular Function: From Biology to Culture
Source: Medscape

We live in a multicultural society. Data from the US 2000 census illustrate that the population is quite heterogeneous: 75% of the population is of Caucasian origin, but look at the numbers for the other racial/ethnic populations. These numbers have now actually changed. The most recent data show that the Latino population now comprises 13.9% of the US population, followed by the African American population. And as you can see, there are other minority populations in the country.

Why is that relevant? It is relevant because we recognize that type 2 diabetes affects different populations in different ways. In this graph, you can see that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is significantly higher in most of these minority groups in comparison to the white population. In this case, the European population represents what we usually see in this country in the white population. Keep in mind that these data are in people between the age of 45 and 74 years, and the rates of diabetes are 1.5, 2, 3 times higher than in the white population, with the highest prevalence of diabetes in terms of percentage of the population being demonstrated in the Pima Indians.

The Pima Indians are an American Indian group (most live in the state of Arizona) that has the highest rates of diabetes in the world: 70% of all Pima Indians above the age of 35 years have type 2 diabetes. They have a tremendous genetic risk for the disease, and they develop diabetes at very high rates. There is a very interesting natural “study” that occurred many years ago. The Pima Indians represented just a single group at some point in the past, but they divided into two groups: one that resides in the state of Arizona and another group that migrated to the northern part of Mexico (Sonora state). Although the populations are genetically identical, their rates for diabetes are very different.


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