Research Article

West Indian diabetic population of a large inner city diabetic clinic.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 21 November 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:1374
  1. K Nikolaides,
  2. A H Barnett,
  3. A J Spiliopoulos,
  4. P J Watkins


    West Indians form a sizable minority of diabetics attending many inner city diabetic clinics. There are 554 diabetics of West Indian origin on our computer files--7% of the total recorded clinic population. Of these 554 patients (56% female, 44% male), 70% have been diagnosed within the past five years; and only 9% have had diabetes for over 10 years; in only five (1%) was diabetes diagnosed before the age of 20. Sixteen per cent were taking insulin, but only 4% of the total West Indian population were truly insulin dependent. Of 65 patients admitted in hyperglycaemic coma or precoma over the past three years, 10 were of West Indian origin; eight of these 10 had hyperosmolar coma compared with only six of the remaining 55. We conclude that diabetics of West Indian origin attending our clinic show differences in the distribution of age and duration of diabetes from the caucasian population. Most are non-insulin dependent, and the frequency of hyperosmolar coma is higher than that of ketoacidosis. Diabetics of West Indian origin may have a different pattern of disease from the rest of the clinic population.