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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1998 May;40(2):129-35.

Diabetes teaching program improves glycemic control and preserves perception of hypoglycemia.

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Department of Medicine, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany.


Improvement of HbA1c is frequently accompanied by deteriorating awareness of hypoglycemia. We studied the effect of improved metabolic control on hypoglycemia perception in 33 type 1 diabetic patients during 3 months after an inpatient diabetes education program of 5 days. Patients were grouped according to the presence (H, n = 11) or the absence (N, n = 22) of a history of repeated severe hypoglycemia. To measure awareness of blood glucose (BG) and hypoglycemia, we calculated their accuracy of BG perception (error grid analysis) and sensitivity for BG levels < 3.9 mmol/l, respectively, during the first (I) and second (II) period of the 3 months using the method of BG estimation. HbA1c decreased from 8.0 +/- 0.3% before to 7.1 +/- 0.2% 3 months after the program (P < 0.001) with no difference between H and N. Neither accuracy of BG perception (40.6 +/- 3.8 (I) versus 43.6 +/- 4.1% (II), P = 0.25) nor sensitivity for low BG levels (49.1 +/- 4.2 (I) versus 54.9 +/- 4.9% (II), P = 0.12) changed significantly. Group H had a lower overall accuracy of BG estimation (P = 0.048) and a lower overall sensitivity for detecting BG levels < 3.9 mmol/l (P = 0.03) than group N. Group H was able to improve accuracy of BG estimation (H: 24.8 +/- 6.2 (I) versus 36.9 +/- 8.3% (II), P = 0.04) while group N was not (48.5 +/- 3.9 (I) versus 46.9 +/- 4.6% (II), P = 0.5). In conclusion, improvement of metabolic control after intensive diabetes education had no adverse effect on the perception of low BG levels. On the contrary, patients with a history of severe hypoglycemia improved their awareness of BG.

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