Versus whites, blacks with diabetes have poorer control of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), higher systolic blood pressure (SBP), and higher low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol as well as higher rates of morbidity and microvascular complications.
To examine whether several mutable risk factors were more strongly associated with poor control of multiple intermediate outcomes among blacks with diabetes than among similar whites.
A total of 764 blacks and whites with diabetes receiving care within 8 managed care health plans.
Cases were patients with poor control of at least two of three intermediate outcomes (HbA1c≥8.0%, SBP≥140 mmHg, LDL cholesterol≥130 mg/dl) and controls were patients with good control of all three (HbA1c<8.0%, SBP<140 mmHg, LDL cholesterol<130 mg/dl). In multivariate analyses, we determined whether each of five potentially mutable risk factors, including depression, low health literacy, poor adherence to medication, low self-efficacy for reducing cardiovascular risk, and poor patient-provider communication, predicted case or control status.
Among blacks but not whites, in multivariate analyses depression (odds ratio [OR] 2.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09-4.75) and having missed medication doses (OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.01-3.81) were associated with greater odds of being a case rather than a control. None of the other risk factors were associated for either blacks or whites.
Depression and missing medication doses are more strongly associated with poor diabetes control among blacks than in whites. These two risk factors may represent important targets for patient-level interventions to address racial disparities in diabetes outcomes.