There has been a shift in thinking about blood sugar management away from HbA1c to time in range (TIR). That’s because there has been growing evidence that maintaining blood sugar levels within an optimal range is important for overall well-being for people with type 1 diabetes. However, there is not nearly as much research about the effects of mild and moderate hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia on quality of life as there has been on the effects of severe hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
A new research project undertaken by T1D Exchange and Tidepool provides information to start to fill in the gaps about mild blood glucose excursions. The results were shared at the American Diabetes Association 79th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.
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For the study, the researchers surveyed 71 people with type 1 diabetes recruited via T1D Exchange Glu, an online site for news and community for people with type 1 diabetes. The researchers had participants share blood sugar readings from their CGM and asked them to fill out questionnaires on their quality of life and happiness.
What the researchers found was that those with fewer bouts of mild hyperglycemia had higher self-reported scores for quality of life and happiness, even when accounting for other factors, including income level and length of time since a type 1 diabetes diagnosis.
They also discovered that those who had consistently steady blood sugar levels over the past 7 days reported being happier than those with more blood sugar variability. Researchers theorize that this is because people who experience steadier blood glucose, as measured by time spent in a consistent range, are not having as many episodes in the most severe high and low ranges.
The findings suggest that new therapies which help people with type 1 diabetes maintain time in range might make a significant difference in the quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes, according to Jeoff Bispham, MA, a researcher with the T1D Exchange Patient-Centered Research team.
“This study provided more insight about how we should be paying attention to not only time in range but also to the amount of variability in blood glucose readings. Clinicians should take this into account when meeting with patients,” said Mr. Bispham.
You can read more about T1D Exchange-related research at the ADA 79th Scientific Sessions here.