African American children have a higher death rate from diabetes than any of their peers. For perspective, these fatality rates are more than three times higher than Hispanic children and two times higher than white children.
According to a report released in the May 19 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, these death rates are non-proportional due to differences in healthcare access and disease management across the nation.
Researchers from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Division of Diabetes Translation analyzed the data of children who died from complications of diabetes between 2000 and 2014. The team, led by Dr. Sharon Saydah, found that there were significant racial disparities all across the board for the entirety of the 14 years.
Between 2000 and 2002, the mortality rate ratio for African-Americans vs. whites was 2.36:1, and for blacks vs. Hispanics it was 3.69:1. Then, between 2012 and 2014, the ratios were 2.22 and 3.36 respectively.
The researchers say that some possible explanations for mortality rate disparities” “could include differences in access to health care, health services, diabetes self- and parent-management education, and diabetes care,” Medscape reports. However, the researchers are quick to point out that they haven’t found any relevant financial relationships between minorities with diabetes and white children with diabetes.
Diabetes causes a host of different health problems including obesity, heart disease, stroke, and obstructive sleep apnea. There are also some complications not necessarily expected, such as urinary incontinence. This is generally considered a disease that is found in seniors — as this problem increases with age from 14% in individuals aged 65-69 to 45% in those aged 85 years and over — diabetes can cause involuntary bladder problems in children as well.
Sleep apnea(OSA) is especially dangerous as well because, during an average night’s sleep, a sufferer of OSA may experience 60 apneas an hour. And considering that OSA is quite hard to diagnose, this can also be tied to lack of access to health care and adequate treatment facilities for these children.
The researchers conclude that there is a need for more studies into the racial disparity of diabetes in children to further determine its cause.
The report writes that this is, “so that targeted interventions for prevention of diabetes deaths among children and adolescents can be developed and implemented.”