Many people underestimate their own risk of diabetes
For example, while the fear of cancer is extremely widespread, the fear of having one's own disease often seems rather low in diabetes. In fact, the risk of diabetes is often underestimated and many people rate their health status too optimistically, according to a recent study at the Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE).
According to the motto "only the others get sick", many people do not believe that they have their own diabetes. "The likelihood of developing diabetes or being ill is underestimated by many people who already have high blood sugar levels or even diabetes that has not yet been diagnosed," said the UDE report. In their current study, the research team headed by Bernd Kowall from the University of Duisburg-Essen and Wolfgang Rathmann from the German Center for Diabetes Research examined to what extent the self-assessment of the risk of diabetes corresponds to the actual condition of the patient. The researchers published their results in the journal "PLOS One".
2,000 subjects examined
For their investigation, the scientists used the data from the so-called KORA study (KORA = Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg region) and looked closely at nearly 2,000 people for whom no diabetes diagnosis had yet been made and who did not take any diabetes medication. Of the 1,953 participants, 47.8 percent were men and the average age was 59.1 years. The subjects were first asked to assess their own diabetes risk. You should estimate the likelihood of existing diabetes and assess whether you run the risk of developing diabetes yourself in the future.
Almost three quarters of those surveyed have no idea of their illness
This was followed by a blood sugar test. If a previously unknown diabetes disease was found during this test, the results of the corresponding participants were examined in more detail. The researchers found that 74 percent of these subjects previously rated the likelihood of having diabetes as low or very low, according to the UDE. Also, more than "70 percent of all participants who did not yet have diabetes but already had elevated blood sugar levels - a so-called prediabetes - stated that they had no risk of developing diabetes later," the doctors report.
Own health assessed too optimistic
The study results make it clear that many people are too optimistic about their state of health, according to the researchers. This could have fatal consequences for prediabetes and diabetes, since those affected early diagnosis could influence the course of the disease through lifestyle and medication. The experts therefore ask people who are overweight, not enough exercise, unhealthy eating, people who smoke or whose parents already have diabetes to have their blood sugar levels checked regularly. In this way, the risk of undetected diabetes can be significantly minimized. (fp)