‘Knowing what matters in diabetes: healthier below 7’

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Abstract

Introduction

During the ‘Knowing what matters in diabetes: healthier below 7’ diabetes campaign, more than 30 000 randomly participating individuals underwent an occasional, voluntary diabetes risk check between 2005 and 2014.

Methods

This campaign aimed to inform individuals in Germany about diabetes mellitus and its complications, the established risk factors for development of type 2 diabetes (T2D), their prevalence and management in the real-life population, the quality of risk factor control and actual disease management in participants with a history of established diabetes mellitus [people with diabetes (PWD)]. Besides demographic characteristics (e.g. sex, age) and anamnestic information (antihypertensive treatment, history of elevated plasma glucose levels, genetic disposition), risk factor assessment included BMI, waist circumference, and lifestyle (physical activity, nutritional habits). The requested information was complemented by direct measurements of blood pressure (BP) (routine), plasma glucose, and HbA1c (voluntary). Between 2005 and 2014, more than 31 000 individuals participated in 45 single campaigns in numerous German cities. Here, we report on the results of the subgroup of participants with known diabetes mellitus.

Results

Among the 26 522 individuals with a completed questionnaire participating in the years 2006–2014, 21 055 participants (79.4%) did not have a history of diabetes and 5098 individuals (19.2%) reported being diagnosed with T2D, 369 (1.4%) with type 1 diabetes. The proportion of participants with T2D increased markedly over the years from 13.3 (2006) to 21.7% (2014). The age group older than 64 years was the largest within this subgroup (67.3%), 48.4% men and 51.6% women. The prevalence of overweight or obesity was found in 78% and 69.2% of the PWD. More than 40% of individuals with T2D had no regular physical exercise and more than 15% had unfavorable nutritional habits. In all, 69.9% of participants with T2D had elevated BP as assessed during the campaign or reported treatment with antihypertensive drugs at any time. On average, almost half of PWD (46.3%) had an HbA1c above 7.0%; a significant trend toward higher values over the 10-year period was observed.

Conclusion

The analysis of PWD participating in the ‘Knowing what matters in diabetes: healthier below 7’ campaign showed that despite huge efforts in the past, important aspects for progression and complications of T2D mellitus are still not well controlled. This includes lifestyle habits as well as pharmaceutical treatment. Although the participants in this study cannot be considered a representative sample of the German population and occasional measurements without standardization further limit firm conclusions, the BP, plasma glucose, and HbA1c results indicate that a major proportion of PWD have insufficient metabolic and BP control. The marked increase in the proportion of T2D among all participants over time is consistent with the increasing prevalence of T2D mellitus found in many other countries worldwide in the recent decades. Our findings underline the importance of an optimized therapy for further improvement of disease management in those already diagnosed with this common chronic, progressive disease.

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