Diabetes and hypertension among South Asians in New York and Atlanta leveraging hospital electronic health records

Jeannette M. Beasley, Joyce C. Ho, Sarah Conderino, Lorna E. Thorpe, Megha Shah, Unjali P. Gujral, Jennifer Zanowiak, Nadia Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Diabetes and hypertension disparities are pronounced among South Asians. There is regional variation in the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in the US, but it is unknown whether there is variation among South Asians living in the US. The objective of this study was to compare the burden of diabetes and hypertension between South Asian patients receiving care in the health systems of two US cities. Methods: Cross-sectional analyses were performed using electronic health records (EHR) for 90,137 South Asians receiving care at New York University Langone in New York City (NYC) and 28,868 South Asians receiving care at Emory University (Atlanta). Diabetes was defined as having 2 + encounters with a diagnosis of diabetes, having a diabetes medication prescribed (excluding Acarbose/Metformin), or having 2 + abnormal A1C levels (≥ 6.5%) and 1 + encounter with a diagnosis of diabetes. Hypertension was defined as having 3 + BP readings of systolic BP ≥ 130 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥ 80 mmHg, 2 + encounters with a diagnosis of hypertension, or having an anti-hypertensive medication prescribed. Results: Among South Asian patients at these two large, private health systems, age-adjusted diabetes burden was 10.7% in NYC compared to 6.7% in Atlanta. Age-adjusted hypertension burden was 20.9% in NYC compared to 24.7% in Atlanta. In Atlanta, 75.6% of those with diabetes had comorbid hypertension compared to 46.2% in NYC. Conclusions: These findings suggest differences by region and sex in diabetes and hypertension risk. Additionally, these results call for better characterization of race/ethnicity in EHRs to identify ethnic subgroup variation, as well as intervention studies to reduce lifestyle exposures that underlie the elevated risk for type 2 diabetes and hypertension development in South Asians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number146
JournalDiabetology and Metabolic Syndrome
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Co-morbidity
  • Diabetes
  • Electronic health record
  • Hypertension
  • South Asian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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