Racial differences in arterial stiffness among adolescents and young adults with type 2 diabetes

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African-American adults demonstrate a higher prevalence of cardiovascular complications including myocardial infarction and stroke. Whether similar racial disparities are present to suggest African-Americans adolescents are at higher risk to develop cardiovascular disease is not known. Thus, we compared arterial stiffness, an early marker of cardiovascular disease, in African-American and Caucasian adolescents and young adults with type 2 diabetes.


Demographic, anthropometric, laboratory data, and arterial stiffness measures including pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index (AIx) were collected in a cross-sectional study of 215 adolescents (average age 18 yr) with type 2 diabetes (55% African-American and 65% female).


Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans had increased PWV (6.21 ± 0.87 vs. 6.96 ± 1.30, p < .01) and AIx (4.44 ± 11.17 vs. 7.64 ± 12.02, p = 0.05). Regression modeling demonstrated age, lipids, blood pressure, and duration of diabetes were differently associated with arterial stiffness in each race group (p < 0.05).


African-American adolescents and young adults with type 2 diabetes have increased vascular stiffness than age-matched Caucasians. This process is mediated by different cardiovascular risk factors. These results suggest race-specific risk factor modification may be helpful to prevent early cardiovascular disease in this high risk population.

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