Beliefs about hypoglycaemia are important for preventing hypos

A University of Michigan study shows that what people think about hypoglycaemia matters, even if they are using the latest diabetes technologies

By Jasmine Schipp

Despite advances in type 1 diabetes, hypoglycaemia (low glucose or “hypo”) remains common. Diabetes technologies can help to prevent hypos. For example, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can show when glucose levels are going low and can alarm to alert the person before it happens.

Researchers at the University of Michigan wanted to learn how often people were having hypos. They also wanted to learn if beliefs around glucose levels influence hypos.

In total, 289 people with type 1 diabetes using CGM took part. One in four had at least one severe hypo (needing help from someone else) in the past six months. The researchers found that beliefs about hypos were important:

      • People who think it is important to avoid high glucose levels are more likely to have a severe hypo
      • People who are not very concerned about hypos are more likely to have hypos in a “level 2” hypo range (<3.0mmol/L)

The researchers think these beliefs might lead people to over-treat high glucose, and under-treat low glucose.

This study shows that beliefs continue to impact on hypos, even if people are using CGM. The researchers suggest that health professionals need to ask about and address people’s beliefs. This study also suggests that interventions informed by psychology may be important to address unhelpful beliefs and behaviours about hypos.

You can read more about hypoglycaemia beliefs here.

Lin YK, Richardson CR, Dobrin I, DeJonckheere MJ, Mizokami-Stout K, Fetters MD, … & Pop-Busui, R. Beliefs Around Hypoglycemia and Their Impacts on Hypoglycemia Outcomes in Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes and High Risks for Hypoglycemia Despite Using Advanced Diabetes Technologies. Diabetes Care, 2022;

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