African Americans with diabetes more at risk for chronic kidney disease, heart failure, study says 

Compared to whites, a study says, Black patients are more likely to develop complications if they have type 2 diabetes. 

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It’s already widely known that type 2 diabetes impacts overall health in significant ways, but a recent report says that Black Americans with diabetes have an even greater chance of developing chronic kidney disease and heart failure. 

The grim statistic was reported by Healio.com, a health news aggregation site geared toward medical professionals. Healio cited a report from Diabetes Care, which surveyed more than 1.4 million Americans with type 2 diabetes. 

Black Americans with diabetes have a greater chance than whites with diabetes of developing chronic kidney disease and heart failure. (Photo: AdobeStock.com)

“Both CKD and heart failure were apparent in some individuals within a few years of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, even among those diagnosed [before age 40] and particularly within the African American population,” the survey researchers found, according to Healio. “An urgent need exists to incorporate multidisciplinary care in the identification of high-risk patients from type 2 diabetes onset, along with legislative support promoting equitable access to therapies and care, especially for young, vulnerable and underrepresented patient populations.”

They found that there are increased risks across the board for African Americans and that the time from diabetes diagnosis to more serious complications averaged anywhere from 6.9 to 12 years across all age groups. For younger people, ages 18 to 39, the time it took for CKD and heart failure to show up was 3.4 years longer. 

Per Healio, in further studying participants by race and age, researchers found “the risk for developing CKD among adults with type 2 diabetes was higher for Black adults compared with white adults” aged 18 to 39 years, 40 to 49 years, 50 to 59 years, and 60 to 70 years. “Black adults with type 2 diabetes also had a higher risk for heart failure than white adults aged” 18 to 39 years, 40 to 49 years, and 50 to 59 years. “No significant difference in heart failure risk was found for adults aged 60 to 70 years,” the study found, per Healio.

Black men ages 18 to 59 were at the greatest risk of developing CKD over women, with an 11% to 49% higher risk factor. White men 18 to 39 with diabetes were also at higher risk of CKD, but only at 23%. However, by the time white men got to age 50 and over, their risk dropped relative to women, with a 7% to 14% lower risk factor. 

It should be noted that the study surveyed almost four times the number of white patients with type 2 diabetes — 1.4 million to 311,000, per Healio. The research included patients ages 18 to 70 diagnosed between 2000 and 2018. 

Comorbidities, or two or more chronic illnesses, like CKD and type II diabetes, are a factor in COVID-19 recovery as well. 

In March, Preventing Chronic Disease claimed the outcomes for patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease were found to impact their chance of recovery from COVID-19. Adults with diabetes were at a 26% higher risk of COVID-19 mortality, and those with chronic kidney disease had a 21% higher mortality risk, said the report. 

The American Heart Association says 55% of African Americans have high blood pressure, among the highest rates of any ethnic group in the world.

Hypertension and diabetes are the most common risk factors for chronic kidney disease. For those who are suffering from kidney disease, they can go to a kidney doctor from a health provider like Nephrology & Hypertension Medical Associates.

The AHA recommends that African Americans monitor their blood pressure and keep it lowered with a combination of healthy eating, exercise and, if necessary, medication. Diabetes and high blood pressure often go hand and hand, and unfortunately, when they do, complications are much more likely, as noted in the diabetes study.  

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