OBJECTIVE: Impaired awareness of hypoglycemia (IAH) is a risk factor for severe hypoglycemia in people with insulin-treated diabetes; autonomic neuropathy has been suggested to underlie its development. The aim was to evaluate a putative association between IAH and autonomic dysfunction using novel and sensitive measures of autonomic neural function. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Sixty-six adults with type 1 diabetes were studied, 33 with IAH and 33 with normal awareness of hypoglycemia (NAH), confirmed by formal testing. Participants were matched for age, sex, and diabetes duration. Clinical and laboratory evaluations included extensive autonomic function testing, peripheral nerve conduction studies, and quantitative sensory testing. Composite abnormality Z scores were used for group comparisons. RESULTS: The IAH and NAH group had similar median (interquartile range) age of 48 (14.5) vs. 47 (14.5) years, diabetes duration of 30 (13.5) vs. 31 (13.5) years, and mean ± SD HbA1c 7.8 ± 2.2% vs. 8.1 ± 1.9%, respectively. The autonomic composite Z score did not differ between the two groups (mean difference −0.15, 95% CI −0.46, 0.16; P = 0.33), nor did the thermal detection (mean difference 0.15, 95% CI −0.31, 0.61; P = 0.51) or nerve conduction scores (mean difference 0.03, 95% CI −0.43, 0.49;...

Olsen, Sandra Elise; Bjørgaas, Marit Ragnhild Rokne; Åsvold, Bjørn Olav; Sand, Trond; Stjern, Marit; Frier, Brian; Nilsen, Kristian Bernhard
Diabetes Care American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care 39(3): 426–433
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