Severe hypos linked with increased heart risk in type 1 diabetes

Tue, 05 Aug 2014
A Swedish study has concluded that people with type 1 diabetes and a history of heart problems have an increased risk of dying following previous episodes of severe hypoglycemia.

Researchers from Sweden, Australia and the USA reviewed data from the Swedish National Diabetes Register. The researchers selected patients with type 1 diabetes that had suffered a major cardiovascular event, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke or death resulting from heart disease. A severe hypo is an episode of very low blood sugar levels that requires treatment from someone else.

Out of the 1,839 patients with type 1 diabetes that were studied, 403 had suffered severe hypoglycemia previously and 703 patients died within the study period. When researchers reviewed patients that had died within a month of a major cardiovascular event, patients that had experienced severe hypos had a 79% increased risk of dying than those that had not experienced a severe hypo. When researchers reviewed deaths after a month following a major cardiovascular event, prior severe hypos was associated with a 25% increased risk of dying.

The results demonstrate that severe hypoglycemia is linked with a greater risk of mortality (dying) in patients with type 1 diabetes following a major heart disease event.

The study has relevance in terms of how tightly people with type 1 diabetes and evidence of heart disease should manage their diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, heart disease and are suffering episodes of severe hypos, speak to your doctor or consultant about how you can avoid severe hypos from occurring.
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