German Diabetes Risk Test Optimized by DZD Scientists

DZD scientists at the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) have optimized the Diabetes Risk Test* on the basis of new study data. Together with other colleagues, they published the optimized test in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice (Mühlenbruch et al., 2014). The new questionnaire versions, which now also factor in a family history of diabetes, are available free of charge for private individuals and primary care physicians on our website at Diabetes Risiko Test. The researchers are currently working on the online version of the test.

The Diabetes Risk Test, which was developed for the first time in 2007 by DZD scientists based on data from the Potsdam EPIC**study, enables the simple and accurate assessment of adults’ individual risk for type 2 diabetes. What is new about the test is that now risk factors such as a family history of diabetes can be quantified in comparison to other factors such as age. “Thus, a fifty-year-old whose father or mother has type 2 diabetes has the same risk as a sixty-year-old without a family history of diabetes,” said Hans-Georg Joost, scientific director of the DIfE.
People with diabetes in the family need to be particularly vigilant about taking preventive measures through a change in diet and lifestyle, the physician/pharmacologist said. “Users of the test can determine from their score to what extent they can positively influence their personal risk, for example by reducing their waist circumference or increasing their consumption of whole grains,” said Kristin Mühlenbruch, lead author of the study cited above.

Objective: to prevent or delay diabetes complications
“One good aspect about type 2 diabetes is that targeted and timely preventive or therapeutic measures can prevent or at least delay serious complications,” said Matthias Schulze, head of the Department of Molecular Epidemiology at the DIfE. These include damage to the eyes and kidneys, a heart attack or stroke.
DIfE scientists therefore recommend that primary care physicians use the patient questionnaire along with a simple blood glucose test as part of a screening to determine the risk profile of individuals aged 35 and older.
Preventive measures could thus be limited to the group of high-risk individuals. Furthermore, the test could be used to follow up on the success of treatment.

Supplement to the health check-up
Currently, the free health check-up for statutory insured women and men aged 35 and older not only includes a general physical check-up but also lab tests including a check of the blood glucose level. An additional inclusion of the test developed by DifE scientists could provide an objective overall result without much effort and thus support the medical decision, according to Joost.

K. Mühlenbruch et al. 2014: Update of the German Diabetes Risk Score and External Validation in the German MONICA/KORA study;
K. Mühlenbruch et al. 2014: Vorhersage des Risikos für Typ-2-Diabetes in der deutschen Bevölkerung mit dem aktualisierten DRT (DIfE - DEUTSCHER DIABETES-RISIKO-TEST®). Ernährungsumschau; in press.

Background Information:
* The DIfE – GERMAN DIABETES RISK TEST® (DRT) is available as online and questionnaire version at The test is based on data from more than 27,000 participants of the Potsdam EPIC** study and was validated by data of the Heidelberg EPIC study, the Tübingen family study for type 2 diabetes, the study “Metabolic Syndrome Berlin Potsdam” and the MONICA/KORA (MONItoring trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease /Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg) study. Both the questionnaire for private individuals and the patient questionnaire enable an accurate evaluation an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes within five years.
** EPIC: European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.
The EPIC study is a prospective study that examines the links between diet and cancer and other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The EPIC study comprises 23 administrative centers in ten European countries with a total of 519,000 adult study participants. The Potsdam EPIC study, with 27,000 participants, is part of the EPIC study.
*** About 90 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which is commonly known as “old age diabetes”. The disease begins insidiously, so that it is often detected too late – namely only when end-organ damage has already taken its toll.
The serious long-term consequences include heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and the loss of limbs due to amputation.