Safe management of hypoglycaemia

Hypoglycaemia can cause significant harm and is frequently under-recognised and under-reported

Hypoglycaemia can cause a spectrum of harm, from weight gain and poor quality of life to neurological damage and higher mortality in the elderly. This section focuses on improving the safe management of hypoglycaemia

Studies estimate that up to 30% of people with type 1 diabetes experience severe hypoglycaemia each year1. Although hypoglycaemia is less common in people with type 2 diabetes than type 1 diabetes2, the actual number of cases of hypoglycaemia may be higher in type 2 diabetes due to the larger numbers of people with this condition. 

NHS Diabetes

Hypoglycaemia can cause significant harm and is frequently under-recognised and under-reported1. To improve its recognition and management in the community, NHS Diabetes have produced a leaflet for patients, carers and community healthcare professionals. Recognition, treatment and prevention of hypoglycaemia in the community offers guidance on causes of hypoglycaemia, early recognition and optimal management. 

They have also produced an e-learning module about the safe management of hypoglycaemia.

Systematic review

In 2009 a systematic review was undertaken to determine whether the risk of a repeat hypoglycaemic episode after being treated with oral hypoglycaemic agents in the community merited a recommendation to admit all patients with hypoglycaemia to hospital. The paper, Improving post-hypoglycaemic patient safety in the prehospital environment: a systematic review, concludes that there is a lack of consensus so recommends a conservative approach.

Professional guidance

Based on guidance issued by the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD) on driving standards, Diabetes UK have created an update for patients Driving and the new medical standards for people with diabetes. This is a helpful summary for healthcare professionals and also to use as a discussion platform with patients.

References

  1. Bailey CJ, Day C. Hypoglycaemia: a limiting factor. Br J Diabetes Vasc Dis. 2010;10:2­4.
  2. UK Hypoglycemia Study Group. Risk of hypoglycaemia in types 1 and 2 diabetes: effects of treatment modalities and their duration. Diabetologia. 2007;50:1140–7.

All resources on safe management of hypoglycaemia