Globally half of all diabetes mellitus is undiagnosed. We sought to determine the extent and characteristics of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus and pre-diabetes in Mexican Americans residing in the United States. This disadvantaged population with 50% lifetime risk of diabetes is a microcosm of the current pandemic. We accessed baseline data between 2004 and 2014 from 2,838 adults recruited to our Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC); a two-stage randomly selected 'Framingham-like' cohort of Mexican Americans on the US Mexico border with severe health disparities. We examined prevalence, risk factors and metabolic health in diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes. Two thirds of this Mexican American population has diabetes or pre-diabetes. Diabetes prevalence was 28.0%, nearly half undiagnosed, and pre-diabetes 31.6%. Mean BMI among those with diabetes was 33.5 kg/m2 compared with 29.0 kg/m2 for those without diabetes. Significant risk factors were low income and educational levels. Most with diabetes had increased waist/hip ratio. Lack of insurance and access to health services played a decisive role in failure to have diabetes diagnosed. Participants with undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes had similar measures of poor metabolic health similar but generally not as severe as those with diagnosed diabetes. More than 50% of a minority Mexican American population in South Texas has diabetes or pre-diabetes and is metabolically unhealthy. Only a third of diabetes cases were diagnosed. Sustained efforts are imperative to identify, diagnose and treat individuals in underserved communities.
Fisher-Hoch, S. P., Vatcheva, K. P., Rahbar, M. H., & McCormick, J. B. (2015). Undiagnosed Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes in Health Disparities. PloS one, 10(7), e0133135. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0133135
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