Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease in Hispanic Americans

Hispanic Americans have a high rate of diabetes, which increases their chances of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, when those with diabetes follow their treatment plan carefully and keep their blood sugar and blood pressure under control, they can greatly reduce their risk of developing these complications.

  • In 2013, more than 14.7% of all new kidney failure patients were Hispanic.
  • Diabetes led to more than 49,000 new cases of kidney failure in 2011, making it the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Hispanic Americans have a 1.4 times greater risk for developing kidney failure than non-Hispanic Americans.
  • About 17% of Hispanic/Latino Americans are estimated to have diabetes. Hispanic Americans are more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of similar age. In adults, the prevalence of diabetes in Cuban Americans is lower than in Mexican Americans and Puerto Rican Americans, but still higher than that of non-Hispanic whites.
  • Compared with non-Hispanic white adults, the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes is approximately 66% higher for Hispanic Americans.
  • Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over 45, but is becoming more common in younger people. It occurs because the body is unable to use insulin properly and can be treated with diet, exercise, weight loss, diabetes pills and, sometimes, insulin injections.
  • Diabetes can be diagnosed by a Hemoglobin A1C equal to or greater than 6.5%, a fasting blood glucose test of 126 or greater in people who have symptoms of diabetes, a non-fasting blood glucose test of 200 or greater in people who have symptoms of diabetes, an abnormal oral glucose tolerance test with two-hour glucose of 200 or greater.
  • The risk factors for diabetes include a family history of diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and an unbalanced diet.
  • Hispanic Americans should have the following tests for early detection of kidney disease: blood pressure measurement, ACR urine test for protein and a blood test to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
  • Studies have shown that early detection and treatment can halt or slow the progression of diabetic kidney disease. Treatment includes careful control of blood sugar and blood pressure. Special high blood pressure medications called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin-2 receptor blockers (ARBs) help to preserve kidney function.
  • When someone loses 85% or more of his or her kidney function, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be recommended to sustain life.

Updated January 2016

Sources of Facts and Statistics:
United States Renal Data System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Education Program