More than 37 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% have type 2 diabetes . Diabetes doesn’t affect everyone equally, and there are significant disparities in risk factors, prevalence, and health outcomes among different populations. Research has shown that type 2 diabetes is more common among members of some racial and ethnic minority groups .
Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes screening means that many patients who may be at an increased risk of having diabetes at a lower age or BMI may miss crucial screenings. Making diabetes screening more equitable is crucial to ensuring that individuals with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes can receive timely and appropriate preventive care and treatment.
Here’s how LetsGetChecked’s at-home healthcare solutions can increase equitable diabetes screening access to bridge health equity gaps and improve population health outcomes.
Disparities by race and ethnicity
Research has demonstrated that diabetes affects racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States disproportionately, as seen in their higher risk of diabetes and rates of diabetes complications and mortality. Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups may be at risk for developing diabetes at lower weights and younger ages than white Americans .
Experts have recommended that Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans should begin screening in their early 20s instead of waiting until they are 35 years old . Lack of screening can delay diagnosis and treatment, which could lead to significant damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and limbs. Despite evidence supporting the benefits of screening, Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans with diabetes were all less likely than white Americans to receive hemoglobin A1c testing . Enabling more equitable access to diabetes screening is vital to addressing care disparities in underserved ethnic and racial groups.
Barriers to diabetes screening
The increase in the incidence of diabetes in ethnic minorities poses a serious challenge for healthcare providers. Access to care and being able to get screening when needed can affect type 2 diabetes diagnosis, treatment, and management. Research has shown that BAME groups face greater barriers to accessing healthcare resources compared to their white counterparts . The extent of these barriers varies by demographics and different socioeconomic circumstances that people find themselves in.
A combination of risk factors, including an individual’s background, income, education, as well as cultural attitudes, and behaviors, can impact screening access and care, subsequently impacting diabetes outcomes. Healthcare as a social determinant of health (SDOH) includes factors such as access, affordability, and care quality. These factors are closely linked with race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location in the United States. Individuals on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, experience more complications, and die sooner than those higher up on the ladder . Recognition of these factors is imperative to ensure interventions are tailored according to their unique needs.
Enable equitable diabetes screening with LetsGetChecked
Understanding the risk factors for diabetes is a crucial step toward an early diagnosis, which can give individuals the tools to prevent the disease from progressing. However, certain barriers prevent certain racial and ethnic minorities from accessing the care they need. LetsGetChecked’s at-home Diabetes Test and Diabetes and Heart Test can meet people where they are, engaging more individuals than in traditional in-person programs.
Our convenient at-home solutions are less restricted by distance and time barriers, which improves access for people living in remote areas or places with limited resources. Leveraging a screening program with us can help underserved members of your population prevent and manage diabetes with timely and equitable care.