Detection and prevention of diabetes at an early stage
Type 2 diabetes does not develop suddenly overnight, but usually occurs slowly and gradually over many years of the initial stages. This condition, called prediabetes, is often overlooked by patients and health professionals. As part of a long-term study, a German research team has now been able to identify six subtypes of prediabetes, which differ widely in risk factors, disease progression and prognosis – an important approach to individually designed countermeasures.
Researchers from the University Hospital Tübingen, the Institute for Research in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) of the Helmholtz Center in Munich and the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) present new subtypes of prediabetes, from which important approaches to preventive and curative measures that are individually adapted can be derived. The research results were recently published in the popular journalNature Medicine” Foot.
Diabetes as a mirror for our society
Sedentary lifestyleLots of time sitting, poor diet and weight gain are typical risk factors for developing type 2diabetic. At the same time, these risk factors are also part of the typical lifestyle in Western countries. This is also reflected in the number of diabetes diseases that have been on the rise for decades. Eight million people in Germany alone suffer from a dangerous metabolic disorder, about every ten people.
Diabetes comes quietly
Often people do not notice prediabetes. Even in a doctor’s office, diabetes precursors are overlooked, as blood sugar levels remain below the critical level. However, the regulation of blood sugar level is already weak at this time. Effectively identifying prediabetes and taking countermeasures early can be a way to prevent a serious chronic disease that can reduce life expectancy of up to ten years.
Six subtypes of prediabetes are classified
The German research team has now analyzed characteristics that can be used to better identify prediabetes. It turns out there is no typical form, but rather six subtypes of prediabetes, all of which can be distinguished from one another.
Results of 25 years of diabetes research
“How quickly prediabetes develops into clear diabetes and the risk of developing secondary disease, however, varies greatly from patient to patient,” explains Professor Dr. Average. Robert Wagner of the University Hospital Tübingen. The researchers analyzed data from a long-term study conducted by Professor Dr. Average. Doctor. hc mult. Hans-Ulrich Häring started with the goal of a better understanding of the development of diabetes. Approximately 900 participants at risk of developing diabetes were screened regularly and comprehensively clinically, chemically, and on MRI.
“In addition to the parameters of sugar metabolism, insulin secretion and sensitivity were also measured, and body fat distribution, blood lipid levels and genetics were analyzed,” says Wagner, explaining the long-term study approach.
With the knowledge gained, the working group was finally able to identify different types of prediabetes. Prof. Dr. Dr. adds. “The test subjects showed six subtypes that differed widely in terms of individual risk factors and disease course – that is, the development of overt diabetes and the risk of developing secondary disease.” Average. Added Andreas Fritsch.
Prediabetes is made up of various factors
For example, it turns out that not everyone who is overweight automatically belongs to the diabetes risk group. Study directors Häring and Fritsche emphasized that “only the combination of individual factors such as body fat distribution or insulin sensitivity make the evaluation more straightforward”.
It is not enough to measure blood sugar levels
“Based on blood sugar levels alone, on which a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes depends, we were unable to make these predictions about the later onset of diabetes in the test subjects,” the researchers explain. To assess the risk of developing diabetes, other criteria must be included.
Good prospects for improving diabetes prevention
“Based on these pioneering results, we will investigate the mechanisms and therapeutic strategies designed in high-risk populations in the future,” adds Prof. Average. Andreas Birkenfeld, Medical Director of the Clinic for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Nephrology at University Hospital Tübingen and spokesperson for DZD.
“It is crucial to continue researching the early stage of metabolic disease – also in light of the increasing number of diabetics,” adds the head of the German Diabetes Association, Prof. Dr. Average. Monica Keeler. The results are an important step towards precision medicine.
A new treatment approach to diabetes
Success has not only been achieved in preventing diabetes but also in researching new treatment methods. A German working group recently introduced a new approach to drug therapy for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which for the first time aims to treat the disease. The research is focusing on a newly discovered receptor called “Inceptor,” whose fixation can regenerate insulin-producing beta cells and protect against insulin resistance. You can find more information on this in the article: Diabetes: The first curative approach is introduced. (Fb)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.
Diploma Editor (FH) Volker Plasik
- Deutsche Diabetes Gesellschaft eV: New findings on disease subtypes pave the way for individual prevention (Posted: 10/2/2021), deutsche-diabetes-gesellschaft.de
- Wagner, R. , Henney, M, Tabak, AG et al. Pathophysiology-based phenotyping of individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes; In: Natural Medicine, 2021, Nature.com
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication. He cannot replace a visit to the doctor.