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Diabetesforschung
22.08.2017

Nearly One in Four Hospitalized Patients Has Diabetes

Nearly one in four patients in a university hospital suffers from diabetes, and again as many suffer from prediabetes. These were the findings of a current study by researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), which was published in ‘Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes’. Further results of the study: Patients with diabetes have prolonged hospital stays and a higher risk of complications.

The prevalence of diabetes is increasing in Germany: At present, the metabolic disease affects almost one in ten individuals. It is known that people with diabetes are found more often among hospitalized or ICU patients than among the general population. So far, however, hardly any data are available on the prevalence of diabetes in hospitals. Therefore, in the present study, researchers screened 3733 adult patients in Tübingen University Hospital for diabetes and prediabetes over a period of four weeks.

The result of the screening was that almost every fourth hospital patient suffered from diabetes (22 percent), i.e. had a long-term blood glucose level (HbA1c value) of 6.5 % or higher. 24 percent of the patients in the study had a long-term blood glucose value between 5.7 and 6.4 percent. These values indicate an early stage of diabetes (prediabetes). Nearly 4 percent of the investigated patients had undiagnosed diabetes. ”Extrapolated to the number of patients who are treated in our hospital each year, there are at least 13,000 diabetes patients who would require therapy,” said Professor Andreas Fritsche, diabetologist and one of the authors of the study. “Laboratory medicine is of particular importance when it comes to the implementation of such projects because, as a cross-section discipline, it has contact with patients from all areas of the hospital,“ said Professor Andreas Peter, head of  the central laboratory in Tübingen and of the central study laboratory of the DZD, in which the study was conducted.

Patients with diabetes stay longer in the hospital

The study also showed that patients with diabetes required treatment in the hospital approximately 1.47 days longer than patients with the same diagnosis without diabetes or prediabetes. The affected patients also had a higher risk of complications:  24% of the patients with diabetes experienced complications. In comparison: Only 15% of the patients without diabetes were affected by complications.

”In view of the high prevalence of diabetes and the negative effects of the metabolic disease, we consider it useful to screen hospitalized patients older than 50 years of age for diabetes. The metabolic disorder can then be treated at the same time and thus complications or extended hospital stays can be avoided,” said Professor Fritsche and Professor Peter.

Further Information

Original Publication:
Kufeld, J.et al. (2017): Prevalence and Distribution of Diabetes Mellitus in a Maximum Care Hospital: Urgent Need for HbA1c-Screening. Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes, DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-112653

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus, allergies and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,500 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 19 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

The primary research objective of the research groups working in the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University of Tübingen is personalized prediction of diabetes risk and diabetes prevention as well as personalized therapy. Here special focus is placed on gene-environment interaction. 

The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) is a national association that brings together experts in the field of diabetes research and combines basic research, translational research, epidemiology and clinical applications. The aim is to develop novel strategies for personalized prevention and treatment of diabetes. Members are Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf, the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University Medical Center Carl Gustav Carus of the TU Dresden and the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tuebingen together with associated partners at the Universities in Heidelberg, Cologne, Leipzig, Lübeck and Munich.

Founded in 1805, the University Hospital Tuebingen is one of the leading centres of German university medicine. As one of 33 University Hospitals in Germany, it contributes to a successful combination of top-level medicine, research, and teaching. More than 400,000 in- and outpatients from around the world benefit from this connection of science and practice each year, since the clinics, institutes, and centres unite specialists from all fields under one roof. Its experts collaborate across disciplines and offer state-of-the-art research-based treatment to all patients. The University Hospital does research to improve diagnostics, therapies, and healing processes. Many new cutting-edge treatments are clinically tested and applied in Tuebingen. Neurosciences, Oncology and Immunology, Infection Biology, Vascular Medicine and Diabetes are focus areas of research at the University Hospital Tuebingen. It is a reliable partner in four of the six German Centres for Health Research (DZG) created by the Federal Government.

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