Microvascular and macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetes in a multi-ethnic population based in Amsterdam. The HELIUS study

Prim Care Diabetes. 2021 Jun;15(3):528-534. doi: 10.1016/j.pcd.2021.02.008. Epub 2021 Mar 3.


Objective: To assess ethnic differences in diabetes-related microvascular and macrovascular complication rates in a multi-ethnic population in the Netherlands.

Study, design and setting: Data from the HELIUS study comprising of 165 Dutch, 591 South-Asian Surinamese, 494 African Surinamese, 272 Ghanaian, 368 Turkish, and 444 Moroccan participants with diabetes were analyzed. Logistic regression was used to assess ethnic differences in microvascular (nephropathy) and macrovascular (coronary heart disease (CHD), peripheral artery disease (PAD) and stroke) complications, with adjustments for age, sex, education, and the conventional risk factors.

Results: In an age-sex adjusted model, ethnic minorities had higher odds of nephropathy than Dutch except for Ghanaians and African Surinamese. The difference remained statistically significant in South-Asian Surinamese (odds ratio: 2.29; 95% CI, 1.09-4.80), but not in the Turkish (1.01; 0.43-2.38) and Moroccan (1.56; 0.68-3.53) participants. The odds of CHD was higher in all ethnic minorities than in Dutch, with the odds ratios ranging from 2.73 (1.09-6.84) in Ghanaians to 6.65 (2.77-15.90) in Turkish in the fully-adjusted model. There were no ethnic differences in the odds of PAD and stroke.

Conclusions: The findings suggest ethnic inequalities in macrovascular and microvascular complications in diabetes, with nephropathy and CHD being the most common complications affecting ethnic minorities.

Keywords: Diabetes; Ethnic minority groups; HELIUS study; Netherlands; Vascular complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / diagnosis
  • Ethnicity
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors