Hypoglycaemia is a common side effect of insulin therapy and presents a barrier to diabetes management, however, limited data exist on the real-world frequency of events. We investigated the self-reported rates of non-severe and severe hypoglycaemic events in Austria. We also explored hypoglycaemia awareness, patient–physician communication and the health-related and economic impact of events.
People with Type-1 or insulin-treated Type-2 diabetes > 15 years of age completed up to 4 questionnaires (weekly intervals). Non-severe hypoglycaemic events were defined by requiring no assistance while severe hypoglycaemic events need help from a third party.
Overall, 553 respondents (40 % Type-1, 60 % Type-2) enrolled, providing a total of 1,773 patient-weeks. The mean annual non-severe event frequencies were 85 for Type-1 and 15–28 for Type-2 (depending on insulin regimen). In respondents who experienced ≥ 1 non-severe event in the study period, annual rates were 18 % higher in Type-1 and 77 % higher in Type-2. The proportion of respondents reporting ‘awareness’ of hypoglycaemic symptoms was 48 % for Type-1 and 43–61 % for Type-2 respondents. The proportion of respondents who rarely/never inform their physician of hypoglycaemic events was 67 % (Type-1) and 43–53 % (Type-2). The most commonly reported health-related impacts were tiredness/fatigue (58 % of events) and reduced alertness (41 % of events).
Non-severe hypoglycaemic events are common in Type-1 and insulin-treated Type-2 diabetes patients in Austria. There may be subgroups of patients who are predisposed to higher rates of non-severe events. Even non-severe events have a negative impact on physical and emotional well-being.