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Survey reveals hidden incidence of diabetic “hypos"

Half (49%) of people with type 2 diabetes (excluding those treated with insulin) experienced at least one "hypo" – an episode of low blood glucose that can result in symptoms ranging from sweating to a loss of consciousness – during a fortnight, according to a new survey by leading health charity Diabetes UK. 

Sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and AstraZeneca (AZ), the survey questioned 1,954 people with type 2 diabetes in the UK and provides insight into the prevalence and impact of mild to moderate hypos. Over half (52%) of those surveyed believe mild to moderate hypos affect their quality of life and one in ten reported having to take at least one day off work in the last year as a result of a mild to moderate hypo.

Simon O'Neill, Diabetes UK Director of Care, Information and Advocacy, said: "Previous research around hypoglycaemia has tended to focus on the impact of severe hypoglycaemia. This survey, however, reveals the everyday impact of mild and moderate hypos among people with type 2 diabetes." 

"Importantly, this survey has also shown us that even people who are not taking insulin are having regular hypos. These people need to be reassessed by their GP to ensure they are taking the appropriate medication. 

"Almost 90% of people with diabetes in the UK have never received structured diabetes education, which is key to improved self-management and a reduced risk of hypoglycaemia. It's therefore vital that we make this area a priority for improvement. We want to see hypos become the exception rather than the rule." 

The survey also revealed that more than one third reported that mild to moderate hypos affect their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, including housework (35%), social activities (37%), sports activities (35%) and sleep (35%). 

Nearly half of those questioned said they worry about having a mild to moderate hypo (47%) and that their emotional wellbeing is affected (47%).  

Diabetes UK

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Interesting relating to the study found. I went to my doctor a few months back, expressing that I was suffering from hypoglycaemia. Blood was measured and results were 3.1, on or around every other week. Follow-up was not offered, nor was education on how to manage symptoms as a diagnosis was not concluded. Certainly I do agree with 90% not receiving adaquate education" - Name and address supplied