Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence of Proteinuric and Nonproteinuric Diabetic Kidney Disease

  1. Latha P. Palaniappan, MD, MS2
  1. 1Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  2. 2Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, Palo Alto, California
  3. 3Nursing Science, College of Health Sciences, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California
  4. 4Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, Oregon
  1. Corresponding author: Latha P. Palaniappan, lathap{at}pamfri.org.


OBJECTIVE To examine racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), with and without proteinuria, in an outpatient health care organization.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We examined electronic health records for 15,683 persons of non-Hispanic white (NHW), Asian (Asian Indian, Chinese, and Filipino), Hispanic, and non-Hispanic black (NHB) race/ethnicity with type 2 diabetes and no prior history of kidney disease from 2008 to 2010. We directly standardized age- and sex-adjusted prevalence rates of proteinuric DKD (proteinuria with or without low estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR]) or nonproteinuric DKD (low eGFR alone). We calculated sex-specific odds ratios of DKD in racial/ethnic minorities (relative to NHWs) after adjustment for traditional DKD risk factors.

RESULTS Racial/ethnic minorities had higher rates of proteinuric DKD than NHWs (24.8–37.9 vs. 24.8%) and lower rates of nonproteinuric DKD (6.3–9.8 vs. 11.7%). On adjusted analyses, Chinese (odds ratio 1.39 for women and 1.56 for men), Filipinos (1.57 for women and 1.85 for men), Hispanics (1.46 for women and 1.34 for men), and NHBs (1.50 for women) exhibited significantly (P < 0.01) higher odds of proteinuric DKD than NHWs. Conversely, Chinese, Hispanic, and NHB women and Hispanic men had significantly lower odds of nonproteinuric DKD than NHWs.

CONCLUSIONS We found novel racial/ethnic differences in DKD among patients with type 2 diabetes. Racial/ethnic minorities were more likely to have proteinuric DKD and less likely to have nonproteinuric DKD. Future research should examine diverse DKD-related outcomes by race/ethnicity to inform targeted prevention and treatment efforts and to explore the etiology of these differences.


  • Received May 19, 2012.
  • Accepted October 24, 2012.

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