Diabetes organizations broaden definition of hypoglycemia to better serve patients

diabetes illus250x03 Diabetes organizations broaden definition of hypoglycemia to better serve patientsThe Endocrine Society and the American Diabetes Association broadened the definition of hypoglycemia to include events during which a diabetic experiences symptoms consistent with low blood sugar without a supporting blood test.

Hypoglycemia occurs when a person has low blood glucose concentrations that puts him at risk for injury or death. Acute hypoglycemia can cause confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures.

The definition of hypoglycemia was broadened because experts noted that episodes of hypoglycemia can occur even when blood tests show glucose levels are in the normal range. The organizations also emphasized the importance of using hypoglycemic risk as one of the key factors in individualizing a patient’s glycemic target.

The change in definition is to help improve the understanding of low blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes.

“Whether a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is crucial to minimize the number of hypoglycemic episodes because patients gradually become desensitized to the symptoms, become less likely to recognize and address hypoglycemia, and thereby have a greater risk of confusion, loss of consciousness, seizure, coma and death,” said Robert A. Vigersky, MD, Endocrine Society Past-President and Consensus Statement co-author.

Patients with type 2 diabetes often rely on medication to regulate their blood sugar levels. However, those medications can carry serious risks.

For example, in 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) severely restricted the use of Avandia after studies linked the drug to fatal heart attacks. In 2011, the FDA warned that Actos has been tied to a greater risk of bladder cancer. Earlier this year, the agency announced that it was looking into cases of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer with Byetta and other type 2 diabetes drugs.

Source: News Wire