Diabetes Warning for People of Asian, African and Caribbean Descent

James Gallagher, BBC, September 10, 2012

British people of South Asian, African or African Caribbean descent are significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than their European counterparts, researchers have warned.

Half had developed the disease by the age of 80 in a study of 4,200 people living in London – approximately twice the figure for Europeans.

The researchers said the rates were “astonishingly high”.

The findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Losing control of blood sugar levels increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputations. Type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle and diet.

Some ethnic groups are already known to have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, one of the researchers at Imperial College London, Dr Therese Tillin, said it may be down to them simply getting the disease earlier in their lives and the figures would even out over time.

But the study showed: “The rates don’t slow down as you get older. The astonishing difference continues,” Dr Tillin said.

She warned this could be a sign of things to come with the potential for soaring levels of diabetes around the world as more people lived in cities and enjoyed a calorie-rich diet.


The scientists involved said that fat, particularly around the waist, could explain some, but not all of the difference, between the ethnicities.

Fellow researcher, Dr Nish Chaturvedi, said genetics could not explain the difference either as there were similar levels of “risky genes” across all groups.

She said: “There is something else that puts them at higher risk and we’re not sure what that is.”

Dr Mike Knapton, from the British Heart Foundation and a GP, said: “Awareness is really low considering the magnitude of the problem, even I’m surprised by the figures.”

He also warned that failing to deal with diabetes would have huge financial consequences for the NHS.

The director of research at Diabetes UK, Dr Iain Frame, said it was “even more important” for people at high risk to manage their weight.

He said: “People from these communities should be screened earlier than the general population – from the age of 25 rather than 40.

“People need to know their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and get diagnosed as early as possible. We know that people from South Asian backgrounds can often be living with the condition for around 10 years before they are diagnosed, which increases the risk of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

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  • Puggg

    I see on TV ads for osteoporosis drugs that risk of osteoporosis is “higher for Asian or Caucasian race.”  I scratch my head, wondering if doctors went to college, otherwise they would know there’s no such thing a race.

    • IstvanIN

       There is no “Asian” race although their are Asian Caucasians and Mongoloids.

    • The ads refer to East Asians who are from Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam. Women from these ethnic groups are usually petite, which is why they are susceptable to osteoporosis. South Asians are Indians and Pakistanis who are different from East Asians.

      • Puggg

        We have a bulldog responding to a pug, and now vice-versa.  Two dog breeds so ugly that only owners could love them. 

        As for the topic at hand, I think the ads say “Asian” because it’s known that we see them and hear “Asian” and think “Oriental.”

  • WmarkW

    This is actually kind of sad (not sarcasm) —  those groups’ bodies aren’t designed to eat and live well.  Evolution selected them to survive famines and store nutrients for when there isn’t any.   It’s one of the ways I actually feel sorry (again, not sarcasm) for the world’s non-white peoples, who really aren’t suited to live in a well-run, sophisticated society.

  • IstvanIN

    Spread the word far and wide, Britain causes diabetes and may be hazardous to your health. 

    • rightrightright

      Yes yes yes.  Warn them, those Blacks and Browns.  Don’t come here it’s too dangerous for you.  Stay safely at home.  And those millions already here, best if you pack up and go home, for your health’s sake.   Do it now.

  • I think the point of the article was to once again provide evidence that there are distinct races.

  • KenelmDigby

    Yet another reason why mass third world immigration is a bad idea.
    It’s a proven fact that third world immigrants are a nett economic liability to the British economy and British taxpayer throughout their lives, ergo it is simply madness to keep importing them, the economic equivalent of slowly slicing pieces of flesh off your body in the belief it ‘makes you stronger’.
      Well anyway, the enormous cost to Britain’s taxpayer funded NHS of treating the majority of elderly blacks and subcons who are sick, is a huge and avoidable burden.

  • Tom P

    No, the treatment of choice is called “anti-gluttony”.  Eat raw and often and about 200
    calories at a time.  If you get your diet down to the level you lose the lard, your “lust”
    engine will  low idle right along with your “gluttony” engine.