Question 867

Jan 7, 2017

What physiological feature puts East Asians at increased risk for type 2 diabetes?


Answer: 3. Increased beta-cell dysfunction

Educational Critique: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is increased in some racial/ethnic groups. East Asians experience more beta-cell dysfunction and Latinos experience greater insulin resistance. However, there have not been many studies conducted to evaluate matching the optimal treatment approach to these characteristics.  According to the CDC “many researchers think that some African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans inherited a ‘thrifty gene’ which helped their ancestors store food energy better during times when food was plentiful, to survive during times when food was scarce. Now that ‘feast or famine’ situations rarely occur for most people in the United States, the gene which was once helpful may now put these groups at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.”

Chan JC, Malik V, Jia W, et al. Diabetes in Asia: epidemiology, risk factors, and pathophysiology. JAMA. 2009;301(20):2129-2140.   Malik V, Willett WC, Hu FB. Global obesity: trends, risk factors and policy implications. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2013;9(1):13-27.