May 3, 2013

Can you die of low bG if you don’t have Diabetes?

by

hospital-hypoA study published in Diabetes Care indicates that there is an increased rate of death for hospitalized patients, with and without diabetes. As confusing as it sounds, it’s possible to have an extremely low sugar, even if you don’t have diabetes. 

Low blood sugar is something you’d expect from a person with diabetes. People without diabetes don’t have to worry about their blood glucose levels, right?

When you’re in a hospital environment, certain drugs and treatments can cause drastic fluctuations in glucose levels that wouldn’t ordinarily be a concern for people with and without diabetes.

This study investigates death rates of people in hospitals, due to low blood glucose. This study isn’t meant to sound the alarmists bell. This study is meant to address a real problem that needs to be corrected.

Four groups of people were analyzed: non-insulin treated hypoglycemia (NTH), insulin-treated hypoglycemia (ITH), noninsulin-treated control (NTC), and insulin-treated control (ITC).

Death rate in hospitalized patients was higher in the insulin-treated hypoglycemia group compared with the insulin-treated control group, but much higher in the non-insulin treated hypoglycemia group compared with the noninsulin-treated control group.

Death rates in hospitalized patients was higher in the non-insulin treated hypoglycemia group compared with the insulin-treated hypoglycemia group, but lower in the noninsulin-treated control group compared with the insulin-treated control group.

Insulin-associated and spontaneous low blood glucose are associated with increased death rates among hospitalized patients. The common denominator for both groups is hypoglycemia and hospitals.

There is no excuse for the misfortune of a death due to low blood sugar, especially in a hospital.  In all fairness, if you’re in the hospital for one condition, and you die of another – it’s a terrible tragedy. Maybe noninvasive CGMs should be a safeguard for all hospitalized patients?

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