Important New study findings of high prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the South Asian population living in the US confirms findings from previous study
New Study Confirms Prevalence of Diabetes of nearly 25% Among South Asians in the U.S. Important research regarding South Asian cardiometabolic disease was published in JAMA on December 20, 2019 by Cheng YJ, Kanaya AM, Araneta MRG, et al entitled “Prevalence of Diabetes by Race and Ethnicity in the United States, 2011-2016.”(1) The data generated by these authors has far-reaching implications for the South Asian community with respect to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In the above study, diabetes prevalence (diagnosed and undiagnosed) was found to be 12.1% for non-Hispanic whites and 23.3% for South Asians.
It further reiterates findings from Dr. Navin Nanda’s group previously published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2004 (Parikh et al). They surveyed a sample of Indian Asians living in the Atlanta area and data in this population group also showed that nearly one in every four Indian Asians living in the US have diabetes mellitus. This was the first important attempt at defining the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the Indian population living in the United States. As pointed out by Parikh et al, the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in this population is much higher than in the native rural Indian population but corresponds more closely with the suburban and urban Indian population. This emphasizes the effects of modernization and urbanization of the population on the marked increase in the prevalence of diabetes.
These findings confer a higher risk of future adverse cardiovascular events in the South Asian and Indian population as compared to Caucasian, black or even Hispanic populations living in the US. This growing population section of the American population should therefore be treated as higher risk and should be treated more aggressively for the purposes of prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Further study is warranted in this subset to define causal factors and targeted therapy.
1. Cheng YJ, Kanaya AM, Araneta MRG, et al. Prevalence of Diabetes by Race and Ethnicity in the United States, 2011-2016. JAMA. 2019;322(24):2389–2398. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2019.1936
2. Venkataraman R, Nanda NC, Baweja G , et al. Prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus and Related Conditions in Asian Indians Living in the United States. Am J Cardiol 2004;94:977–980.
Kul Aggarwal, MD, FACC
Professor of Clinical Medicine,
University of Missouri,
Chief, Cardiology Section,
Harry S. Truman Veterans Hospital,