Real world link discovered between type 2 diabetes and low blood sugar risk

A research team from the Leicester Diabetes Centre, led by postgraduate researcher Chloe Louise Edridge, has reviewed a series of studies into how often hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar – occurs in people with type 2 diabetes and has discovered that the condition is especially prevalent in those on insulin, while remaining common for those on other treatment regimens.

As part of the study, which is published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the team considered both mild cases - when an individual could bring their blood sugar back to normal themselves - and severe cases, when emergency services or family and friends needed the help.

532,542 participants were included in the review. Nearly half of them had experienced mild hypoglycaemia and 6 per cent had experienced severe hypoglycaemia. Individuals were shown to have experienced 19 mild episodes per year and just less than one severe episode per year. Hypoglycaemia was particularly common amongst those who were on insulin, yet still fairly common for other treatment regimens.

Chloe Louise Edridge said: “Our results highlight an urgent need for raising awareness amongst patients and healthcare professionals about hypoglycaemia. This study particularly highlights the need for patient education to raise awareness of hypoglycaemia and the consideration of a patient’s hypoglycaemia risk by healthcare professionals when prescribing diabetes treatments."

The study, entitled ‘Prevalence and Incidence of hypoglycaemia in 532,542 people with type 2 diabetes on oral therapies and insulin: a systematic review and meta-analysis of population based studies’ is available in the scientific journal PLOS ONE here.

The Leicester Diabetes Centre, a leading Centre in diabetes research and education, is led by Professor Kamlesh Khunti and Professor Melanie Davies from the University of Leicester and Leicester’s Hospitals.