Diabetes Mellitus in Hopi and Navajo Indians: Prevalence of Microvascular Complications

  1. Gary Pavanich
  1. Southwestern Field Studies Section, National Institute of Arthritis. Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Phoenix, Arizona
  2. Indian Health Service Hospital Keams Canyon, Arizona
  1. Address reprint requests to Dr. William C. Knowler, National Institutes of Health, 1550 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85014.


In a cross-sectional study of Hopi and Navajo Indians with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, we found vascular complications to be strongly related to the duration of diabetes. In patients with diabetes of at least 10 yr duration, retinopathy was found in 57%, nephropathy in 40%, peripheral neuropathy in 21%, and peripheral vascular disease in 28%. For the Hopi and Navajo, the duration-specific prevalence rates of microvascular disease were very similar to prevalence rates found in many other populations. Thus we question the concept, based on reports in the late 1960s, that the Hopi and Navajo Indians have hyperglycemia as an isolated chemical abnormality unaccompanied by other manifestations of diabetes mellitus.

  • Received December 16, 1982.
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