Children With Type 1 Diabetes Frequently Experience Nocturnal Hypoglycemia

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Nocturnal hypoglycemia occurs frequently and is often asymptomatic in children with type 1 diabetes.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia occurs frequently and is often asymptomatic in children with type 1 diabetes.

(HealthDay News) — Nocturnal hypoglycemia frequently occurs in children with type 1 diabetes, and is mainly asymptomatic, according to a research letter published in Diabetes Care.

Sara Bachmann, PhD, from the University Children's Hospital Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues examined the frequency and duration of nocturnal hypoglycemia in children with diabetes. Glucose measurements were combined with accelerometry to examine the influence of physical activity. 

Complete data were available for 51 children with type 1 diabetes for more than 6 months. Continuous glucose monitoring was performed for 6 days and physical activity was recorded by accelerometry.

The researchers identified 128 episodes of nocturnal hypoglycemia, of which 8 were symptomatic. One or more episodes of hypoglycemia occurred on 32.7% of nights; the duration of hypoglycemia ranged from 10 to 665 minutes, with 36% of episodes lasting less than 1 hour. 

There was a correlation for daytime physical activity with nocturnal hypoglycemia: 1 hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity increased the risk for nocturnal hypoglycemia by 58% (P=.009), while 1 hour of vigorous physical activity increased the risk by 82% (P=.01). Bedtime glucose of lower than 6 mmol/L correlated with a 2.5-fold increase in the risk for nocturnal hypoglycemia.

"In children with diabetes, nocturnal hypoglycemia is very frequent, mostly asymptomatic, and often prolonged for hours," the researchers wrote.

Medtronic provided iPro and Enlite Sensors for the study.


  1. Bachmann S, Hess M, Martin-Diener E, Denhaerynck K, Zemsteg U. Nocturnal Hypoglycemia and Physical Activity in Children With Diabetes: New Insights by Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Accelerometry. Diabetes Care. 2016. doi:10.2337/dc16-0411.
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