06:13am Monday 25 September 2017

Potassium is an early marker of type 2 diabetes

The results of the research, which was conducted on the basis of data obtained from the KORA Study, will be published in the current edition of the scientific journal Diabetologia.

Potassium is an early marker of type 2 diabetes

Image: Dr. Christine Meisinger, Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München

Low concentrations of potassium occur more frequently in the blood serum of patients suffering from high blood pressure, particularly when they also suffer from type 2 diabetes or a preliminary stage of this widespread disease. The study published in Diabetologia shows for the first time that this association exists irrespective of whether the high blood pressure is being treated with diuretics. In addition, for the first time a link has been established between serum potassium concentrations and prediabetes. The team of scientists led by Dr. Christine Meisinger of the Institute of Epidemiology II at the Helmholtz Zentrum München conducted the study internally with the Institute of Epidemiology I and externally with the team headed by Dr. Wolfgang Rathmann of the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) in Düsseldorf.

“Modifiable risk factors can help us to define risk groups for diabetes,” Dr. Meisinger explains. “Only when we know the risk factors for the occurrence of the disease can we ensure an early diagnosis or take appropriate preventive measures.” The Helmholtz Zentrum München aims to develop new approaches to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the major widespread diseases such as diabetes mellitus. Diabetes affects almost ten per cent of the population of Germany.

Further information

Original publication:
Meisinger C et al.(2012) Serum potassium is associated with prediabetes and newly diagnosed diabetes in hypertensive adults from the general population: The KORA F4-Study, Diabetologia DOI: 10.1007/s00125-012-2786-8

Link to specialist publication

The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches to the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,000 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 34,000 staff members. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is a partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research. www.helmholtz-muenchen.de

The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) is a national association that brings together experts in the field of diabetes research and combines basic research, epidemiology and clinical applications. The members of the association are the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) in Düsseldorf, the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DifE) in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, the Helmholtz Zentrum München – the German Research Center for Environmental Health, the Paul Langerhans Institute of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital in Dresden and Eberhard Karl University in Tübingen as well as the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community. The aim of the DZD is to find answers to unsolved questions in diabetes research by adopting a novel, integrative approach and to make a significant contribution towards improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes mellitus. www.dzd-ev.de
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Specialist contact
Dr. Christine Meisinger, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Institute of Epidemiology II, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg – Tel: +49 821-34642-12, E-Mail


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