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CY Hong, KS Chia, K Hughes, SL Ling
Correspondence: Dr Ching-Ye Hong, email@example.com
Introduction Ethnic differences exist in patients with diabetes mellitus. Not much is known about such differences in Asian populations. The aim of the study was to determine ethnic differences among Chinese, Malay and Indian patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in Singapore.
Methods The study design was cross-sectional, involving 967 patients who were attending follow-up care for type 2 diabetes mellitus at a primary care clinic. Data collection was by patient interview, examination, and from case records. Blood and urine samples were collected for analysis of indicators of diabetic control and albuminuria.
Results Malays had the highest mean body mass index (BMI) after controlling for age, gender, duration of diabetes and exercise status. Adjusted mean BMI for Malays was 27.4kg per square metres, Indians 25.7kg per square metres, Chinese 24.9kg per square metres, with the p value being less than 0.01. HbA1c levels were highest among Indians after controlling for age, duration of diabetes, body mass index and treatment. Adjusted mean HbA1c for Indians was 8.3 percent, Malays 8.0 percent, and Chinese 7.7 percent, with the p value being less than 0.01. Compared with Chinese, Indians were more likely to have a positive family history of diabetes (prevalence rate ratio (PRR) of 1.3, 95 percent confidence interval (CI) of 1.0 to 1.7), but were less likely to have associated hypertension (PRR of 0.7, 95 percent CI of 0.5 to 1.0) and microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria (PRR of 0.6, 95 percent CI of 0.4 to 1.0).
Conclusion Ethnic differences exist with regard to BMI, diabetic control as reflected by HbA1c levels, family history of diabetes, presence of associated hypertension, and severity of albuminuria. Indians, while having poorer control of diabetes, are less prone to hypertension and renal complications than Chinese.
Keywords: body mass index, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, family history, albuminuria
Singapore Med J 2004; 45(4): 154-160