Going Too Low With Diabetes

Diabetes patients with severe hypoglycemia may have an increased risk of death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) High blood sugar is not the only concern for people with diabetes. Low blood sugar levels can be just as dangerous. In fact, it can be deadly if left uncontrolled.

Diabetes patients with severe hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar levels) may have a higher risk of death than those with mild or no hypoglycemia.

This finding could help doctors identify high risk patients.

"Keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels."

In their recent study, Steven A. Smith, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, and colleagues wanted to see if patients' self reports of hypoglycemia were associated with an increased risk of death.

The researchers questioned more than 1,000 diabetes patients about hypoglycemia. Of these, 625 (61.7 percent) reported having any hypoglycemia, while 76 (7.5 percent) reported having severe hypoglycemia.

According to the results, patients who reported hypoglycemia were 3.4 times more likely to die within five years, compared to those who said they had mild or no hypoglycemia.

The authors conclude that patient-reported hypoglycemia may help identify high risk patients. Knowing who is at risk can help doctors improve disease management of patients with diabetes.

The study is published in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 20, 2012
Last Updated:
November 2, 2012