The goal of this article was to examine the differences in the rates of microvascular complications of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white subjects. This was a geographically based case-control study where prevalent cases of NIDDM were identified in medical records. Subjects attended a 4-h clinic to confirm NIDDM diagnosis and assess complication end points. Retinopathy was defined by stereofundus photographs. Distal symmetric neuropathy was determined by standardized clinical examination. Nephropathy was indicated by serum creatinine level, urine protein-creatinine ratio, and urine albumin concentration. This study consisted of 279 NIDDM subjects confirmed by oral glucose tolerance test and World Health Organization criteria aged 20–74 yr (187 Hispanic and 92 non-Hispanic white subjects). Duration-adjusted prevalence of retinopathy was significantly higher in non-Hispanic white subjects (54.1 per 100, 95% confidence interval [CI] 44.4–63.7) than in Hispanics (41.8 per 100, 95% CI 34.8–48.8). This excess occurred only in non-Hispanic white subjects with background retinopathy but not in those with more severe retinopathy. Hispanics and non-Hispanic white subjects did not differ significantly for the prevalence of neuropathy (31.6 per 100 in non-Hispanic white subjects and 26.3 per 100 in Hispanics) or nephropathy by any measure. There were no significant differences in duration of diabetes or mean glycohemoglobin levels between ethnic groups. Microvascular complications of NIDDM are not in excess among Colorado Hispanics, and retinopathy may be somewhat more common in non-Hispanic white people.

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