World Diabetes Day 2018: 6 Facts to Know about Diabetes

In Germany, more people die of diabetes and its sequelae than previously thought. Being slim does not automatically mean protection against diabetes. You can determine your diabetes risk with a simple test. This and other important information from diabetes research has been compiled by the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) for the occasion of this year's World Diabetes Day.

DZD booth at the World Diabetes Day 2017. Source: DZD

The 14th of November is traditionally World Diabetes Day, a day which aims to draw public attention to the metabolic disease, the associated health risks, and treatment and prevention options. On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) will highlight current facts and results from diabetes research.

1: More people die of diabetes and its sequelae than previously thought. This was shown by a study conducted by researchers at the DZD in Düsseldorf. About 175,000 deaths per year are associated with the metabolic disease. This means that life expectancy for people with diabetes is about five to six years lower than for people of the same age without diabetes.1

2: Due to a malfunction in fat storage regulation, almost every fifth slim person has an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is shown by studies carried out by Tübingen researchers from the DZD and Helmholtz Zentrum München.2

3: One in ten euros is spent by statutory health insurance companies on the treatment of type 2 diabetes. This corresponds to a total of 16.1 billion euros per year.3

4: With the German Diabetes Risk Score developed by the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) and the  DZD, adults can determine their personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) within the next five years. The online test, available in German and English, also shows individual ways of reducing the risk. (

5: Not only lifestyle, but also genes play a role in the development of diabetes. Researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum München and the DZD have recently identified a network of genes that are involved in the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.4

6: Type 1 diabetes occurs primarily when specific risk genes are present. Individuals with these genes have a 25-fold increased risk of developing diabetes. In this autoimmune disease, the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas. In a study started this year, researchers are investigating whether the  autoimmune disease can be prevented by a form of desensitization. Newborns with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes are given insulin in their diet. The aim is to train the immune system. The POInT (Primary Oral Insulin Trial) study is placebo-controlled.5

Event on World Diabetes Day in Berlin
Further information on the topics "Diabetes and Family", "News from Therapy and Technology" and "Type 1 and Type 2 Nutrition" can be found at the central event for World Diabetes Day on November 18th at the Estrel Congress Center Berlin. The DZD will also have a stand there. Among other things, there will be the opportunity to express wishes and suggestions for a comprehensive Internet portal on the subject of diabetes.

1 Jacobs E et al. Burden of Mortality Attributable to Diagnosed Diabetes: A Nationwide Analysis Based on Claims Data from 65 Million People in Germany, Diabetes Care, 18. Oktober 2017, dc170954.

2 Stefan et al., Causes, Characteristics, and Consequences of Metabolically Unhealthy Normal Weight in Humans, Cell Metabolism (2017),

3 E. Jacobs, A. Hoyer, R. Brinks, A. Icks, O. Kuß and W. Rathmann, Healthcare costs of Type 2 diabetes in Germany, DIABETIC Medicine 2017, 9. März 2017.

4 Rozman, J. et al. (2018): Identification of genetic elements in metabolism by high-throughput mouse phenotyping. Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01995-2