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Diabetes Metab. 2008 Dec;34(6 Pt 1):612-6. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2008.04.005. Epub 2008 Sep 27.

Can glycaemic variability, as calculated from blood glucose self-monitoring, predict the development of complications in type 1 diabetes over a decade?

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Division of Internal Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 182 88 Stockholm, Sweden.



Is glycaemic variability an independent risk factor for the development of microvascular complications in addition to average glycaemia, as assessed by glycated haemoglobin (HbA(1c))? In this study, an 11-year follow-up was carried out in patients with type 1 diabetes. The standard deviation of blood glucose (SDBG) concentration, an index of glycaemic variability, was calculated from self-monitored blood glucose data at baseline.


A total of 100 patients were randomly selected from 442 consecutive type 1 diabetic patients attending our outpatients clinic. SDBG was calculated from 70 measurements taken over a period of four weeks. Onset and progression of micro- and macrovascular complications were recorded over the 11-year follow-up.


As expected, the prevalence of complications increased over time. Statistical analyses showed that HbA(1c) was an independent predictor of the incidence (P=0.004) and prevalence (P=0.01) of nephropathy. SDBG was found to be a predictor of the prevalence of peripheral neuropathy (P=0.03), and showed borderline significance in predicting the incidence of peripheral neuropathy (P=0.07). SDBG was also a highly significant predictor of hypoglycaemic unawareness (P=0.001).


We conclude that variability of blood glucose may be important in the development of peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 1 diabetes, and that the nervous system may be particularly vulnerable to glycaemic variability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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