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BMJ. Jan 18, 1997; 314(7075): 209–213.
PMCID: PMC2125665

Diabetes and hypertension in Britain's ethnic minorities: implications for the future of renal services.


Diabetes and hypertension are much more prevalent among Britain's 2.5 million Asian and African-Caribbean population than among the white population and are major contributors to end stage renal failure. Asians and African-Caribbeans have threefold to fourfold higher acceptance rates on to renal replacement therapy than white people, and in some districts they comprise up to half of all patients receiving such treatment. Their greater need for renal replacement treatment is accompanied by difficulties of tissue matching in cross racial transplants and a shortage of donor organs. The aging of ethnic minority populations will increase local need for renal services significantly. Measures to control diabetes, hypertension, and secondary complications in Asian and African-Caribbean communities will contribute both to safeguarding health and to economies in spending on renal services. Education about diabetes and hypertension, modification of behavioural risk factors, early diagnosis, effective glycaemic and blood pressure control, and early referral for signs of renal impairment are essential preventive measures. Primary and community health care professionals have a critical role to play here.

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