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Atherosclerosis. 2001 Mar;155(1):179-86.

Diabetes mellitus abolishes ethnic differences in cardiovascular risk factors: lessons from a multi-ethnic population.

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Department of Endocrinology, Lipid Unit, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, 169608, Singapore, Singapore.



To compare cardiovascular risk factors in diabetic subjects of different ethnic groups, and between new and known diabetic subjects, in the Singapore National Health Survey '92.


Disproportionate stratified sampling followed by systematic sampling were used in 3568 (total) respondents of whom 2743 were non-diabetics, 179 newly diagnosed diabetics and 150 known diabetics. Amongst the diabetics, there were 185 Chinese, 66 Malays and 78 Asian Indians. Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM) was based on the 2 h glucose alone, after a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test. Blood pressure (BP), lipid profile, glucose, insulin and anthropometric indices were obtained from all subjects.


Subjects with diabetes (new and known) exhibited significantly higher triglyceride (TG), lower high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low density lipoprotein (LDL)/apolipoprotein B (apo B) ratio (LDL size) compared with normoglycaemic subjects. They were more obese (generalised and central) and had higher systolic and diastolic BP. There was no difference in lipid risk factors between the two groups with diabetes although those with new diabetes were more obese whilst those with known diabetes had higher fasting glucose. Amongst subjects with diabetes, there were no significant differences between ethnic groups in TG, HDL-C, LDL/apo B ratio, or waist to hip ratio (WHR). Female Malays with diabetes had higher total cholesterol and were more obese whilst male Asian Indians with diabetes had higher fasting insulin.


Asian Indians had lower HDL-C and LDL/apo B ratio than Chinese or Malays amongst normoglycaemic subjects. However, these differences between ethnic groups were not seen in subjects with DM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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