Haitian Americans who suffer from diabetes find it harder to control their blood sugar levels than their African-American and white counterparts, a study has revealed.
The research, carried out the Boston Medical Center, examined more than 2,600 diabetes patients who received primary care treatment, showed that the 715 patients of Haitian descent generally had less control over the level of blood sugar in their bodies, as measured by hemoglobin A1C. Levels of hemoglobin A1C are connected to average blood sugar levels over the last couple of months.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, found that, on average, Haitian patients’ A1C was 8.2 per cent, as opposed to 7.7 per cent for African-American patients, and 7.5 per cent for white patients. Diabetics are usually recommended to maintain their A1C levels at or below 7 per cent.
In addition, almost a quarter of Haitians had an A1C level above 9 per cent, seen as poor blood sugar control, compared with 18 per cent of African-Americans and 15 per cent of whites. Even when other risk factors were removed, Haitian patients were still much more likely than African-Americans and whites to have an A1C level above 9 per cent.
The researchers have been trying to identify what other factors are causing this discrepancy, with suggested reasons including the high carbohydrate content of the traditional Haitian diet and poor communication between doctors and Haitian patients due to a culture gap or language difficulties.

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