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04-18-2018 | Ethnic groups | Review | Article

Diabetes in South Asians: Phenotype, Clinical Presentation, and Natural History

Journal: Current Diabetes Reports

Authors: Ranjit Unnikrishnan, Prasanna Kumar Gupta, Viswanathan Mohan

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

South Asia is one of the epicenters of the global diabetes pandemic. Diabetes in south Asians has certain peculiar features with respect to its pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and management. This review aims to summarize some of the recent evidence pertaining to the distinct diabetes phenotype in south Asians.

Recent Findings

South Asia has high incidence and prevalence rates of diabetes. The progression from “pre-diabetes” to diabetes also occurs faster in this population. Pancreatic beta cell dysfunction seems to be as important as insulin resistance in the pathophysiology of diabetes in south Asians. Recent evidence suggests that the epidemic of diabetes in south Asia is spreading to rural areas and to less affluent sections of society.


Diabetes in south Asians differs significantly from that in white Caucasians, with important implications for prevention, diagnosis, and management.
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