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Impaired counter regulation of hypoglycemia in a group of insulin-dependent diabetics with recurrent episodes of severe hypoglycemia

Impaired counter regulation of hypoglycemia in a group of insulin-dependent diabetics with recurrent episodes of severe hypoglycemia

Acta Medica Scandinavica 216(2): 215-222

The counterregulatory response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia was investigated in 22 insulin-dependent diabetics (IDD) with recurrent hypoglycemia and in 6 healthy volunteers. Hypoglycemia was induced by a constant rate infusion of insulin (2.4 U/h) up to four hours. Conventional insulin therapy was changed to an i.v. infusion of regular insulin 24 hours prior to the experiment. The presence of diabetic autonomic neuropathy was evaluated by respiratory sinus arrhythmia and Valsalva maneuver. In healthy subjects, blood glucose was decreased to 2.5 mmol, here reaching steady state level and giving rise to marked glucagon and growth hormone (GH) responses. The majority of IDD (group A) reached a slightly lower steady state glucose level and exhibited similar glucagon and GH responses while the epinephrine response was augmented. Six IDD (group B) showed a continuous decrease in blood glucose to 1.2 +/- 0.1 mmol/l at which level the infusion of insulin was discontinued due to neuroglucopenic symptoms. These subjects had no glucagon and epinephrine responses while their GH and cortisol responses were normal. A comparison of the diabetic groups revealed a longer duration of diabetes and a more impaired autonomic nervous function in group B while glycosylated hemoglobin was similar. It is concluded that most IDD have normal hormonal responses (epinephrine, glucagon, GH, cortisol) and normal counterregulartory capacity to hypoglycemia induced by a prolonged infusion of a moderate dose of insulin. Some patients with long-term diabetes and impaired capacity to counteract hypoglycemia exhibit deficient glucagon and epinephrine responses to hypoglycemia.

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Accession: 043344530

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 6388251

DOI: 10.1111/j.0954-6820.1984.tb03795.x

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