Hypoglycemia is a common complication of insulin treatment in type 1 diabetes mellitus and can occur in any patient with diabetes when glucose consumption exceeds supply. Many studies have been done to elucidate those factors that predict severe hypoglycemia: younger age, longer duration of diabetes, lower HgbA1c, higher insulin dose, lower Body Mass Index, male gender, Caucasian race, underinsurance or low socioeconomic status, and the presence of psychiatric disorders. Hypoglycemia can affect patients' relationships, occupation, and daily activities such as driving. However, one of the greatest impacts is patients' fear of severe hypoglycemic events, which is a limiting factor in the optimization of glycemic control. Therefore, the importance of clinicians’ ability to identify those patients at greatest risk for hypoglycemic events is two-fold: 1) Patients at greatest risk may be counseled as such and offered newer therapies and monitoring technologies to prevent hypoglycemic events. 2) Patients at lower risk may be reassured and encouraged to improve their glycemic control. Since the risk of long-term complications with poor blood glucose control outweighs the risks of hypoglycemia with good blood glucose control, patients should be encouraged to aim for glucose concentrations in the physiologic range pre- and post-prandially. Advancements in care, including multiple daily injection therapy with analog insulin, continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, and continuous glucose monitoring, have each subsequently improved glycemic control and decreased the risk of severe hypoglycemia.
Keywords: Hypoglycemia, Diabetes mellitus, Insulin