Diabetes in clinic patients an underestimated risk?
Diabetes is an extremely widespread disease that endangers the health of those affected in many ways. On the one hand, this leads to increased hospital stays for diabetics and on the other hand, complications are more common during their hospital stays. Scientists from the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and the Helmholtz Center Munich have determined precise figures in a current study.
"Every fourth patient in a university clinic suffers from diabetes (22 percent), again as many from prediabetes (24 percent)," reports the DZD of the study results. It had also been shown that patients with diabetes had to stay in hospital for an above-average period and were at higher risk of complications. The results of the study were published in the journal "Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes".
Rapidly growing number of diabetics
Overall, the proportion of people with diabetes has increased significantly across Germany in the past decades. "In the meantime, almost every tenth person suffers from the metabolic disorder," the DZD said. In addition, it is already known that diabetics take up an increased proportion of patients in the hospital or even in an intensive care unit. However, data on the level of diabetes prevalence in clinics have so far hardly been available, reports the DZD.
Diabetes prevalence evaluated among clinic patients
In the current study, the scientists have now examined the prevalence of diabetes in patients at the University Hospital in Tübingen over a period of four weeks. A total of 3,733 adult patients were screened for diabetes and prediabetes. It was shown that almost every fourth hospital patient has diabetes (22 percent), i.e. has a long-term blood sugar value (HbA1c value) of 6.5 percent and more, according to the DZD. 24 percent of the patients examined were at an early stage of diabetes (prediabetes) with a long-term blood sugar value between 5.7 and 6.4 percent. Almost four percent of those examined had previously undiagnosed diabetes.
Increased complications and longer hospital stays
"Extrapolated to the patients who are treated annually in our clinic, there are at least 13,000 diabetes patients who need treatment," emphasizes study author Professor Andreas Fritsche. The study also showed that patients with diabetes had to be treated in the clinic for approximately 1.47 days longer than patients with the same diagnosis without diabetes or prediabetes. Furthermore, those affected have a higher risk of complications, reports the DZD. Complications occurred in 24 percent of patients with diabetes, whereas this was only the case in 15 percent of patients without diabetes.
Diabetes screening advisable for clinic patients?
"Given the high prevalence of diabetes and the negative effects that the metabolic disorder has, we believe it makes sense to screen over 50-year-old patients in clinics for undetected diabetes," report Prof. Fritsche and colleagues. In this way, the metabolic disorder could be treated at the same time, and complications or extended hospital stays could possibly be avoided. Laboratory medicine is of particular importance here, as it has cross-sectional contact with patients from all areas of the hospital, says Prof. Andreas Peter, head of the central laboratory in Tübingen and the central study laboratory of the DZD, in which the current study was carried out. (fp)