Two surprising risk factors - diminished lung function and low serum potassium levels - appear to have nearly the same effect as obesity in explaining why African-Americans are disproportionately prone to developing type 2 diabetes, Duke researchers report.
According to estimates, the prevalence of diabetes is 70% higher among African-Americans than among non-Hispanic whites. Traditional risk factors such as obesity, socioeconomic status, diet and behavioral factors account for some of the racial disparity, but not all.
"Other environmental, cultural, metabolic, and genetic factors are likely to contribute to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes among African-Americans," says Duke's Renee Chatterjee, MD, an internal medicine physician at Duke Primary Care South Durham, and lead author of the study.
Read about Duke's research on risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes in African-Americans.