Diabetes therapy : research, treatment and education of diabetes and related disorders 2017 11 21() doi 10.1007/s13300-017-0340-x
Glycemic variability refers to oscillations in blood glucose within a day and differences in blood glucose at the same time on different days. Glycemic variability is linked to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. The relationship among these three important metrics is examined here, specifically to show how reduction in both hypo- and hyperglycemia risk is dependent on changes in variability.
To understand the importance of glycemic variability in the simultaneous reduction of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia risk, we introduce the glycemic risk plot-estimated HbA1c % (eA1c) vs. minutes below 70 mg/dl (MB70) with constant variability contours for predicting post-intervention risks in the absence of a change in glycemic variability.
The glycemic risk plot illustrates that individuals who do not reduce glycemic variability improve one of the two metrics (hypoglycemia risk or hyperglycemia risk) at the cost of the other. It is important to reduce variability to improve both risks. These results were confirmed by data collected in a randomized controlled trial consisting of individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes on insulin therapy. For type 1, a total of 28 individuals out of 35 (80%) showed improvement in at least one of the risks (hypo and/or hyper) during the 100-day course of the study. Seven individuals (20%) showed improvement in both. Similar data were observed for type 2 where a total of 36 individuals out of 43 (84%) showed improvement in at least one risk and 8 individuals (19%) showed improvement in both. All individuals in the study who showed improvement in both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia risk also showed a reduction in variability.
Therapy changes intended to improve an individual’s hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia risk often result in the reduction of one risk at the expense of another. It is important to improve glucose variability to reduce both risks or at least maintain one risk while reducing the other.
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