The incidence of diabetic nephropathy in type 2 diabetes differs widely by race. Although clinical proteinuria is reportedly more common in East Asian type 2 diabetic patients than in their Caucasian counterparts, data on the incidence of microalbuminuria are not available. This study was undertaken to investigate the incidence and the determinants of microalbuminuria in Korean type 2 diabetic patients.


A cohort of 188 Korean type 2 diabetic patients with initial normoalbuminuria were followed prospectively for 5.5 ± 0.9 years in an outpatient clinic of a university hospital. The incidence of elevated urinary albumin excretion (UAE) (>20 μg/min) and its relationship with baseline characteristics and follow-up data were determined.


Of the 146 patients who finished the study, 37 showed persistently elevated UAE during follow-up, giving an incidence of 52/1,000 person-years. Age, duration of diabetes, and baseline UAE were significantly higher in the progressors than in the nonprogressors. More patients in the progressor group had retinopathy at baseline and at the end of follow-up. The mean values of fasting plasma glucose, HbA1, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure during the follow-up period were significantly higher in the progressors than in the nonprogressors. Cox proportional hazards analysis revealed that presence of retinopathy, duration of diabetes, mean fasting plasma glucose, and mean systolic blood pressure during follow-up are independent variables that have a statistically significant influence on the development of microalbuminuria.


The incidence of microalbuminuria in Korean type 2 diabetic patients is lower than that reported in Pima Indians with type 2 diabetes but is as high as that in Caucasians with type 1 diabetes. Presence of diabetic retinopathy, poor glycemic control, and high blood pressure are risk factors for development of microalbuminuria in Koreans with type 2 diabetes.

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