HealthDay News — About 17 percent of patients with diabetes report experiencing hypoglycemia when fasting for lab tests, according to a study recently published in the International Journal of Endocrinology.

Saleh Aldasouqi, M.D., from Michigan State University in East Lansing, and colleagues note that many patients with diabetes fast for lab tests, especially lipid profiles, and therefore miss breakfast. The researchers address fasting-evoked en route hypoglycemia (FEEHD), which may occur if patients are not properly instructed about adjusting diabetes medications before a lab test. The authors assessed the rate of occurrence of FEEHD among 525 patients who completed surveys inquiring about hypoglycemic events while fasting for labs in the previous 12 months.

A total of 363 patients with complete data were analyzed. The researchers found that in the previous 12 months, 17.1 percent of patients (62 patients) reported having experienced one or more FEEHD events. Overall, 21.9 percent of the 269 patients at higher risk reported having experienced FEEHD. Fifty-three and 35 percent of FEEHD patients recalled having contacted their provider regarding the events and having received some sort of FEEHD prevention instructions, respectively.

“Our study has confirmed findings of prior studies that FEEHD occurs in clinical practice and at an alarming prevalence rate,” the authors write. “It is imperative that health organizations, especially diabetes organizations, become more aware of this issue and include specific educational guidelines to prevent FEEHD.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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