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OBJECTIVE:To determine the prevalence and incidence of diabetes in Alaska Natives and the incidence of cerebrovascular accidents (stroke), myocardial infarction (MI), end-stage renal disease (ESRD), lower-extremity amputations (LEA), and mortality over a 6- to 8-year period. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:The data derive from a registry of diagnosed diabetes (World Health Organization [WHO] criteria) of the Alaska Area Native Health Service (AANHS), from medical records, and from the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. RESULTS:From 1986 to 1993, the prevalence of diabetes in Alaska Natives increased by 22% from 15.7 to 19.2 per 1,000 people. Of these cases, nearly all were diagnosed with type II diabetes. During the same period, 614 new cases were diagnosed. The incidence was 1.5 per 1,000 Alaska Natives per year. The incidence of confirmed MI was 8.0 per 1,000 person-years of diabetes. Aleuts had the highest rate, followed by Indians and Eskimos. The incidence of confirmed stroke was 10.6 per 1,000 person-years of diabetes. Eskimos had a significantly higher rate than Indians (P = 0.002), and women had a higher rate than men. The incidence of LEA was 5.0 per 1,000 person-years of diabetes. The incidence rate dropped significantly after instituting a foot care program. The incidence for ESRD was 3.3 per 1,000 and also showed a decline with time. The all-cause mortality rate of 43.2 per 1,000 person-years of diabetes was nearly equal between men and women. Among Alaska Natives with diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the most common cause of death, followed by cancer and diabetes, per se. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that diabetes is increasing in Alaska Natives, who are experiencing both the microvascular and macrovascular complications of diabetes. The incidence of LEA and ESRD show some evidence of a decrease after intervention efforts.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes care

Publication Date





314 - 321


Alaska Native Medical Center, Anchorage 99501, USA.


Humans, Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes Complications, Incidence, Prevalence, Cause of Death, Prospective Studies, Age Factors, Indians, North American, Inuits, Alaska, Female, Male