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Diabetes Care. 1999 Mar;22 Suppl 2:B43-52.

How to ameliorate the problem of hypoglycemia in intensive as well as nonintensive treatment of type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Perugia, Italy.


Maintenance of long-term near-normoglycemia by intensive therapy largely, if not fully, prevents the onset of microangiopathic complications and delays progression of complications in type 1 diabetic patients. However, intensive therapy has been reported to increase the frequency of severe hypoglycemia. In addition, a number of experimental studies have shown that a few episodes of mild, recurrent hypoglycemia blunt the symptom and hormonal responses to hypoglycemia over the next few days. At present, the critical "post-DCCT" (Diabetes Control and Complications Trial) questions are: is it possible to maintain long-term HbA1c < 7.0%, first, without increasing the frequency of severe hypoglycemia, and second, without increasing the frequency of mild, recurrent hypoglycemia? The answer is yes. The key factors are use of a physiological model of insulin replacement and the education of patients to appropriate the decision of insulin dose based on blood glucose monitoring and eating patterns. Hypoglycemia unawareness should be suspected whenever HbA1c is < 6.0 (upper normal limit 5.5%) and the patient does not report autonomic symptoms when their blood glucose level is < 3.0 mmol/l. The unaware patients should be treated with a short-term program of meticulous prevention of hypoglycemia, which reverses the abnormalities of responses of symptoms, hormonal counterregulation, and brain cognitive function. In turn, reversal of these abnormalities decreases the risk for severe hypoglycemia. Importantly, a program of meticulous prevention of hypoglycemia does not result in loss of long-term near-normoglycemia, i.e., it is compatible with the glycemic targets of intensive therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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