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New research ties potassium levels to diabetes risk

Category: Diabetes

Far more African Americans receive HbA1c tests that indicate they have type 2 diabetes than other races. The findings of a new study from a team of Johns Hopkins University researchers may help explain this phenomenon.

After analyzing medical data from more than 12,000 individuals of all races, the team found that African Americans tend to have significantly lower potassium levels than other races. Several previous studies found connections between low potassium levels and high insulin and blood sugar, which are two of the most common markers of diabetes.

The condition affects far more blacks than individuals of other races. In the current study, African American participants were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to whites.

While the researchers said that there is still more research that needs to be conducted to clarify the link between potassium levels and diabetes, they said that it could provide a simple test to diagnose the condition early before patients start presenting symptoms. This could enable doctors to recommend lifestyle changes that could help individuals avoid the condition entirely. 

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