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Hypoglycemia unawareness in older compared with middle-aged patients with type 2 diabetes.

Bremer JP, Jauch-Chara K, Hallschmid M, Schmid S, Schultes B - Diabetes Care (2009)

Bottom Line: OBJECTIVE Older patients with type 2 diabetes are at a particularly high risk for severe hypoglycemic episodes, and experimental studies in healthy subjects hint at a reduced awareness of hypoglycemia in aged humans.In contrast, middle-aged patients showed a pronounced increase in autonomic and neuroglycopenic symptom scores at the end of the hypoglycemic plateau that was not observed in older patients (both P < 0.01).The joint occurrence of hypoglycemia unawareness and deteriorated cognitive function is a critical factor to be carefully considered in the treatment of older patients.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.

ABSTRACT
OBJECTIVE Older patients with type 2 diabetes are at a particularly high risk for severe hypoglycemic episodes, and experimental studies in healthy subjects hint at a reduced awareness of hypoglycemia in aged humans. However, subjective responses to hypoglycemia have rarely been assessed in older type 2 diabetic patients. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We tested hormonal, subjective, and cognitive responses (reaction time) to 30-min steady-state hypoglycemia at a level of 2.8 mmol/l in 13 older (> or =65 years) and 13 middle-aged (39-64 years) type 2 diabetic patients. RESULTS Hormonal counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia did not differ between older and middle-aged patients. In contrast, middle-aged patients showed a pronounced increase in autonomic and neuroglycopenic symptom scores at the end of the hypoglycemic plateau that was not observed in older patients (both P < 0.01). Also, seven middle-aged patients, but only one older participant, correctly estimated their blood glucose concentration to be <3.3 mmol/l during hypoglycemia (P = 0.011). A profound prolongation of reaction times induced by hypoglycemia in both groups persisted even after 30 min of subsequent euglycemia. CONCLUSIONS Our data indicate marked subjective unawareness of hypoglycemia in older type 2 diabetic patients that does not depend on altered neuroendocrine counterregulation and may contribute to the increased probability of severe hypoglycemia frequently reported in these patients. The joint occurrence of hypoglycemia unawareness and deteriorated cognitive function is a critical factor to be carefully considered in the treatment of older patients.

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Means ± SE reaction time during an auditory vigilance task at baseline, during hypoglycemia, and after restoration of euglycemia in 13 middle-aged (39–64 years) (□) and 13 older (≥65 years) (■) diabetic patients. **P < 0.01.
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Figure 2: Means ± SE reaction time during an auditory vigilance task at baseline, during hypoglycemia, and after restoration of euglycemia in 13 middle-aged (39–64 years) (□) and 13 older (≥65 years) (■) diabetic patients. **P < 0.01.

Mentions: Older patients overall tended to show longer reaction time than middle-aged patients (P = 0.06 for the group main effect) (Fig. 2). The prolongation of reaction time induced by hypoglycemia (P < 0.001 for the hypo main effect) did not differ between the two patient groups (P = 0.26 for the group × hypo interaction term). Of note, reaction time remained prolonged in both groups after euglycemia had been reestablished for 30 min (57 ± 19 ms in middle-aged and 82 ± 23 in older patients vs. respective baseline values; P = 0.012 and P = 0.003, respectively).


Hypoglycemia unawareness in older compared with middle-aged patients with type 2 diabetes.

Bremer JP, Jauch-Chara K, Hallschmid M, Schmid S, Schultes B - Diabetes Care (2009)

Means ± SE reaction time during an auditory vigilance task at baseline, during hypoglycemia, and after restoration of euglycemia in 13 middle-aged (39–64 years) (□) and 13 older (≥65 years) (■) diabetic patients. **P < 0.01.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2713637&req=5

Figure 2: Means ± SE reaction time during an auditory vigilance task at baseline, during hypoglycemia, and after restoration of euglycemia in 13 middle-aged (39–64 years) (□) and 13 older (≥65 years) (■) diabetic patients. **P < 0.01.
Mentions: Older patients overall tended to show longer reaction time than middle-aged patients (P = 0.06 for the group main effect) (Fig. 2). The prolongation of reaction time induced by hypoglycemia (P < 0.001 for the hypo main effect) did not differ between the two patient groups (P = 0.26 for the group × hypo interaction term). Of note, reaction time remained prolonged in both groups after euglycemia had been reestablished for 30 min (57 ± 19 ms in middle-aged and 82 ± 23 in older patients vs. respective baseline values; P = 0.012 and P = 0.003, respectively).

Bottom Line: OBJECTIVE Older patients with type 2 diabetes are at a particularly high risk for severe hypoglycemic episodes, and experimental studies in healthy subjects hint at a reduced awareness of hypoglycemia in aged humans.In contrast, middle-aged patients showed a pronounced increase in autonomic and neuroglycopenic symptom scores at the end of the hypoglycemic plateau that was not observed in older patients (both P < 0.01).The joint occurrence of hypoglycemia unawareness and deteriorated cognitive function is a critical factor to be carefully considered in the treatment of older patients.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.

ABSTRACT
OBJECTIVE Older patients with type 2 diabetes are at a particularly high risk for severe hypoglycemic episodes, and experimental studies in healthy subjects hint at a reduced awareness of hypoglycemia in aged humans. However, subjective responses to hypoglycemia have rarely been assessed in older type 2 diabetic patients. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We tested hormonal, subjective, and cognitive responses (reaction time) to 30-min steady-state hypoglycemia at a level of 2.8 mmol/l in 13 older (> or =65 years) and 13 middle-aged (39-64 years) type 2 diabetic patients. RESULTS Hormonal counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia did not differ between older and middle-aged patients. In contrast, middle-aged patients showed a pronounced increase in autonomic and neuroglycopenic symptom scores at the end of the hypoglycemic plateau that was not observed in older patients (both P < 0.01). Also, seven middle-aged patients, but only one older participant, correctly estimated their blood glucose concentration to be <3.3 mmol/l during hypoglycemia (P = 0.011). A profound prolongation of reaction times induced by hypoglycemia in both groups persisted even after 30 min of subsequent euglycemia. CONCLUSIONS Our data indicate marked subjective unawareness of hypoglycemia in older type 2 diabetic patients that does not depend on altered neuroendocrine counterregulation and may contribute to the increased probability of severe hypoglycemia frequently reported in these patients. The joint occurrence of hypoglycemia unawareness and deteriorated cognitive function is a critical factor to be carefully considered in the treatment of older patients.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus