A new study has indicated that US blacks struggle to control diabetes as compared to whites despite being under the care of the same doctor.
Researchers from Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates analysed electronic medical records from 4,556 white patients and 2,258 black patients under the care of 90 doctors for diabetes.
The patients, who were all treated in eastern Massachusetts, were tested for low density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol that leads to clogged arteries; hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), which measures blood glucose control over time; and blood pressure.
"White patients were more likely than black patients to reach commonly accepted benchmarks for controlled levels" of all three, the study showed.
Forty-seven percent of the white patients achieved control of HbA1C versus less than four in 10 blacks; 57 percent of white patients brought their LDL under control, compared to 45 percent of blacks, the study showed.
Blacks also lagged six percentage points behind whites in controlling blood pressure (24 percent versus 30 percent).
"Racial differences in outcomes were not related to black patients differentially receiving care from physicians who provide a lower quality of care but rather that black patients experienced less ideal or even adequate outcomes than white patients within the same physician panel," the authors of the study said.
"Our data suggest that the problem of racial disparities is not characterized by only a few physicians providing markedly unequal care but that such differences in care are spread across the entire system," they added.
The study is the latest to address differences in healthcare for diabetes between blacks and whites in the United States.
A study published last week showed that blacks suffering from diabetes are more likely to have a leg amputated than whites.