Diabetes and its chronic complications in the She ethnic minority group of China

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012 May;14(5):430-9. doi: 10.1089/dia.2011.0244. Epub 2012 Feb 3.


Objective: According to recent reports, the development of type 2 diabetes in China has soared at an alarming rate. However, most of the investigations were based on Han people, who account for the majority of people in China. Little is known about the prevalence of diabetes its chronic complications in the She people, who have their own traditional lifestyle and hereditable background, different from other Asian population. The present study investigated the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and associated risk factors in the adult population of She nationals.

Subjects and methods: A total of 5,385 participants entered into the analysis eventually, including 2,308 men and 3,077 women. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed in subjects without diagnosed diabetes. Liver function, cardiovascular risk (brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and abnormal Minnesota codes findings), uric acid, and neuropathy were tested to assess the profiles of associated risks.

Results: In general, the self-reported diabetes rate was 9.5%. After age and sex standardization, the prevalence of diabetes was 6.1% (6.7% for men and 5.7% for women) in She Chinese people. In logistic regression models, age, family history of diabetes, alcohol use, total cholesterol, and triglycerides were all significantly associated with the risk of diabetes in this cross-sectional study (all P<0.05). In all, 47.4% had cardiovascular risks, 19.4% had liver dysfunction, and 6.2% had hyperuricemia. For women, compared with the first quartile, log-transformed homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance of the fourth quartile was significantly higher (P<0.05), and log-transformed homeostasis model assessment for β cells was also higher in the second, third, and fourth quartiles (all P<0.05). The prevalences of polyneuropathy in impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), IFG/IGT, and diabetes mellitus (DM) were 16.1%, 13.1%, 18.6%, and 28.4% separately, which was higher than that in normal glucose tolerance. The prevalences of polyneuropathy in IFG/IGT and DM were higher than that in IGT.

Conclusions: The present study revealed that a total of 6.1% She people suffered from type 2 diabetes, which was lower than the average level of China, but the standardized prevalence of prediabetes was higher, 20.6%. Early peripheral neuropathy screening should be performed in the prediabetes population. The Toronto Clinical Neuropathy Scoring System is convenient to assess diabetic polyneuropathy in clinical practice and should be tested regularly for people in prediabetes. Liver dysfunction, headache, and insomnia, appearing before type 2 diabetes, should be assessed regularly to avoid deterioration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Body Mass Index
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / ethnology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Prediabetic State / blood
  • Prediabetic State / epidemiology*
  • Prediabetic State / ethnology
  • Prediabetic State / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution


  • Blood Glucose