Diabetes is the single largest cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in adults in the U.S. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) has been recognized for some time as an important cause of ESRD, but non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) has been assumed, until recently, to rarely cause ESRD. The objective of this study is to determine the incidence of treatment of diabetic ESRD by diabetic type for three ethnic/racial groups: non-Hispanic whites, African-Americans, and Mexican-Americans. A population-based incidence cohort was assembled from all dialysis centers in Bexar (San Antonio) and Dallas counties in Texas. All patients with diabetic ESRD beginning dialysis between 1 December 1987 (Bexar) or 1 December 1988 (Dallas) and 31 July 1991 were identified. All non-hispanic whites and African-Americans and a 1/2 random sample of Mexican-Americans were approached for enrollment. Individuals were confirmed to have diabetes using the World Health Organization criteria. Diabetes typing was done using a computerized historical algorithm. Age-specific and age-adjusted incidence rates were obtained by diabetic type and ethnic/racial group. NIDDM causes the majority of diabetic ESRD: 59.5% for non-Hispanic whites, 92.8% for Mexican-Americans, and 84.3% for African-Americans. Mexican-Americans and African-Americans, respectively, have 6.1 and 6.5 times higher incidence of treatment for diabetic ESRD than non-Hispanic whites. NIDDM results in more ESRD than does IDDM. Minorities (African-Americans and Mexican-Americans) are at increased risk, and programs aimed at prevention of NIDDM-related ESRD must focus on them.

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