Hypoglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes - More Common Than You Think: A Continuous Glucose Monitoring Study

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Hypoglycemia is often the limiting factor for intensive glucose control in diabetes management, however its actual prevalence in type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is not well documented.


A total of 108 patients with T2DM wore a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) for 5 days. Rates and patterns of hypoglycemia and glycemic variability (GV) were calculated. Patient and medication factors were correlated with rates, timing, and severity of hypoglycemia.


Of the patients, 49.1% had at least 1 hypoglycemic episode (mean 1.74 episodes/patient/ 5 days of CGMS) and 75% of those patients experienced at least 1 asymptomatic hypoglycemic episode. There was no significant difference in the frequency of daytime versus nocturnal hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia was more frequent in individuals on insulin (alone or in combination) (P = .02) and those on oral hypoglycemic agents (P < .001) compared to noninsulin secretagogues. CGMS analysis resulted in treatment modifications in 64% of the patients. T2DM patients on insulin exhibited higher glycemic variability (GV) scores (2.3 ± 0.6) as compared to those on oral medications (1.8 ± 0.7, P = .017).


CGMS can provide rich data that show glucose excursions in diabetes patients throughout the day. Consequently, unwarranted onset of hypo- and hyperglycemic events can be detected, intervened, and prevented by using CGMS. Hypoglycemia was frequently unrecognized by the patients in this study (75%), which increases their potential risk of significant adverse events. Incorporation of CGMS into the routine management of T2DM would increase the detection and self-awareness of hypoglycemia resulting in safer and potentially better overall control.

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