How blood sugar levels affect risks in type 1 diabetes

August 28, 2019

A major new study on the association between blood glucose levels and risks of organ impairment in people with type 1 diabetes can make a vital contribution to diabetes care, in the researchers' view.

The Swedish study now published in BMJ (British Medical Journal) covers more than 10,000 adults and children with type 1 diabetes. Using the Swedish Diabetes Register, the researchers have been able to monitor the study participants for 8-20 years.

The researchers analyzed existing risks at various long-term blood glucose (sugar) levels, averaged over a two- to three-month period. The results of the study are particularly interesting given that there is no international consensus on the optimal blood glucose level to aim for.

For many years, a biomarker known as HbA1c has been used to measure mean blood glucose levels. In Sweden, the target HbA1c value in people with type 1 diabetes is 52 mmol/mol or below, and 47 or lower in children. Elsewhere in the world, the guidelines range from 48 to 58 mmol/mol, and are often higher in children than in adults.

The study makes it clear that a value above 52 mmol/mol is associated with an elevated risk of mild changes to the eyes and kidneys. Vision-threatening eye damage occurs mainly at substantially higher values. Staying at 52 or below thus reduces the risk of organs being affected, but a value below 48 showed no further risk reduction.

"We were unable to see that fewer instances of organ damage occurred at these lower levels. As for loss of consciousness and cramp, which are unusual, low blood glucose caused a 30 percent rise in risk. Patients with low HbA1c need to make sure they don't have excessively low glucose levels, fluctuations or efforts in managing their diabetes," says Marcus Lind, professor of diabetology and first author.

In the study, Marcus Lind -- a professor at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and senior consultant at the NU Hospital Group in Uddevalla, Sweden -- shared primary responsibility with Johnny Ludvigsson, a senior professor at Linköping University, whose specialty is childhood diabetes.

"Knowing more about the association between blood glucose level and risk is extremely important since the health care services, the community, patients and their parents make heavy use of resources in attaining a particular blood glucose level," Ludvigsson says.

"Attaining a low HbA1c value may, in some cases, require children to be woken up several times a night, plus extra glucose monitoring and strict attention to diet and physical activity day after day, which can be extremely burdensome."
-end-


University of Gothenburg

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.