Complications of diabetes in urban Indigenous Australians: The DRUID study

Louise Maple-Brown, Joan Cunningham, Karin Dunne, Cherie Whitbread, Diane Howard, Tarun Weeramanthri, Shaun Tatipata, Terry Dunbar, Colin A. Harper, Hugh R. Taylor, Paul Zimmet, Kerin O'Dea, Jonathan E. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To accurately assess the management and complications of type 2 diabetes in urban Indigenous Australians and compare the risk of complications with a general Australian population (AusDiab Study). Methods: The Darwin Region Urban Indigenous Diabetes (DRUID) Study included 1004 volunteers aged ≥15 years; diabetes status was classifiable for 866. The assessment of diabetic complications and metabolic control was performed in participants with known diabetes (KDM) and diabetes newly diagnosed by the study (NDM) using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and clinical examination. Results: Among 172 DRUID participants eligible for complications assessment, 135 were assessed, including 99 KDM (mean age 53 years) and 36 NDM (mean age 47 years). Percentages of KDM participants meeting therapeutic targets were: HbA1c < 7%, 29%; blood pressure < 130/80 mmHg, 45%; total cholesterol < 5.5mmol/L, 65%. Among KDM, 39% had albuminuria, 21% retinopathy, 12% peripheral vascular disease (PVD), 9% neuropathy. Factors independently associated with diabetic complications were: albuminuria-HbA1c, systolic blood pressure; retinopathy-diabetes duration; PVD-age. Compared to AusDiab participants after adjusting for other risk factors, DRUID participants had 2-3-fold increased risk of albuminuria and PVD and a non-significant increased risk of neuropathy, but no increased risk of retinopathy. Conclusions: Urban Indigenous Australians with diabetes are relatively young and have poor glycaemic control. Compared to the general Australian population with type 2 diabetes, they have greater adjusted risk of albuminuria and PVD but not retinopathy. Urgent action is required to prevent diabetes at a population level and improve diabetes management in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-462
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Albuminuria
  • Diabetes management
  • Indigenous Australian
  • Neuropathy
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Retinopathy

Cite this