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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2014 Sep;105(3):273-84. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2014.06.007. Epub 2014 Jun 23.

Assessment of the association between glycemic variability and diabetes-related complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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Ossian Health Economics and Communications, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Kantonsspital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy.
Medtronic Italia, S.p.A, Milano, Italy.
Medtronic International Trading Sàrl, Tolochenaz, Switzerland.
Ossian Health Economics and Communications, Basel, Switzerland.


Chronic hyperglycemia is the main risk factor for the development of diabetes-related complications in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but it is thought that frequent or large glucose fluctuations may contribute independently to diabetes-related complications. A systematic literature review was performed using the PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases with searches limited to studies published from June 2002 to March 2014, in English and including ≥50 patients. Twenty eight articles were included in the final review. Eighteen studies reported the association between glucose variability and diabetes-related complications exclusively in type 2 diabetes. A positive association between increased variability and microvascular complications and coronary artery disease was consistently reported. Associations between glucose variability and other macrovascular complications were inconsistent in type 2 diabetes. Seven studies examined the association between glucose variability and complications exclusively in type 1 diabetes. Increased glucose variability appears to play a minimal role in the development of micro- and macrovascular complications in type 1 diabetes. Consistent findings suggest that in type 2 diabetes glucose variability is associated with development of microvascular complications. The role of increased glucose variability in terms of microvascular and macrovascular complications in type 1 diabetes is less clear; more data in are needed.


Glycemic variability; Macrovascular complications; Microvascular complications

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