Low blood sugar linked to increased risk of heart problems in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients

The University of Leicester’s Diabetes Research Centre has published an association between low blood sugar and increased risk of cardiovascular problems and mortality in patients with diabetes.

The study consisted of an international collaboration and demonstrated that, following hypoglycaemia, insulin-treated patients with diabetes had a 60% higher risk of cardiovascular events, and were between 2-2.5 times more likely to die over the same period as patients who did not experience hypoglycaemia.

“This is one of the first studies to report the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The risks are very significant and we need to identify these patients early with a view to implementing strategies to reduce their risk of hypoglycaemia, ” said Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes & Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester.

“The data from this important and large piece of research confirms what we already know in people with type 2 diabetes and extends our knowledge in those with type 1 diabetes. It also confirms the significance of hypoglycaemia and the link with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, a risk that persists over a long time period. Going forward we need to focus on management strategies that help patients minimise their risk of having hypoglycaemic events,” said Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and Honorary Consultant at Leicester’s Hospitals.


K. Khunti, M. Davies, A. Majeed, B. L. Thorsted, M. L. Wolden, S. K. Paul. Hypoglycemia and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality in Insulin-Treated People With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: A Cohort Study. Diabetes Care, 2014; DOI: 10.2337/dc14-0920

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