Hispanic subgroups have some of the highest diabetes rates in the United States, and as a collective whole, Hispanics see a rate of diabetes at 16.9 percent compared to the rest of the U.S. population which see an 11.3 percent prevalence rate.
Despite the numbers, new research shows Hispanics and other minorities living with diabetes, experience positive psychological well-being, better quality of life, and a feeling of empowerment when it comes to their metabolic disease compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Minority groups do, however, still suffer higher levels of diabetes-related stress, which may be one reason for health outcome disparities, say researchers.
“Despite the fact that minority populations are at increased risk for diabetes-related physical health problems and complications, minority groups in this study reported better quality of life and increased empowerment compared with non-Hispanic whites, but they struggle with diabetes distress,” said Professor Mark Peyrot, principle investigator of the study in a press release.
“It is important that diabetes care teams be aware of the differences among the diverse populations living with the disease in the United States in order to tailor their approaches to improve the psychological well-being of people with diabetes.”
More specifically, researchers observed that:
- Minorities receiving patient-centered care reported the greatest feelings of empowerment concerning diabetes.
- Those individuals who felt more empowered reported higher levels of stress regarding weight, low blood sugar and discrimination. This may suggest awareness brings about diabetes stress by providing more factors for an individual to focus on in regards to health.
- All three minority groups evaluated–Hispanics, African Americans and Chinese Americans–reported higher levels of diabetes-related stress compared to non-Hispanic whites.
- African Americans reported the most positive psychological outcomes, including well-being, quality of life, and impact of diabetes on various aspects of daily life, and the lowest distress of the three minority groups.
The findings were gathered from data pulled by the Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs 2 (DAWN2) study, published recently in Current Medical Research and Opinion.
“DAWN2 represents Novo Nordisk’s commitment to identifying and addressing gaps in diabetes care beyond providing appropriate medicines,” said Todd Hobbs, US Chief Medical Officer, Novo Nordisk Inc.
“The psychological impact and burden of diabetes on people living with the disease, especially minority groups, is not fully recognized. We continue to learn from the DAWN2 study and hope that these insights will bring light to many important issues facing the diabetes community.”
Experts suggest the findings further encourage health care providers to look for culturally-relevant ways to treat diabetes. While awareness about the disease had certainly led to minorities feeling empowered about their options, it has also given them more reason to worry.
Health care providers must be aware that diabetes-related stress is a real concern even among people who have a greater understanding of metabolic disease.