Posted March 19, 2008 – Low-income American Black and Hispanic diabetics have a tougher time than Whites checking their insulin levels, a new study shows.
At every income level, fewer Hispanics and Blacks reported daily self-monitoring of blood sugar levels than Whites. But Blacks also have a higher level of diabetes and seem to be having a harder time with checking blood sugar levels.
"Minority and financially vulnerable adults with insulin-treated diabetes appear to have lower reported rates of self-monitoring of blood glucose – a vital disease management component," study author Dr. Deborah A. Levine, an assistant professor in general internal medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, said in a statement.
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That conclusion was reached after researchers looked at stats on 16,630 Hispanic, Black and White adults ages 19 and older with insulin-treated diabetes, HealthDay News reports.
Among those with annual household incomes of $20,000 and higher, self-monitoring of blood sugar rates were 85 percent for Whites, 78 percent for Hispanics and 77 percent for Blacks.
More work needs to be done to help minorities and poor people control diabetes, particularly since Hispanics and Blacks more often have diabetes-related complications compared to Whites, researchers said. Hispanics with incomes of less than $20,000 had the worse self-monitoring rates.
"We need to better understand income's role in racial and ethnic disparities in [self-monitoring of blood sugar] to offer effective programs and policies to improve [self-monitoring of blood sugar] in minorities," Levine said.
The study was presented Friday at the American Heart Association's annual conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, in Colorado Springs, Colo. For help with diabetes management tools, see our H.E.A.L. feature on diabetes.