Cognitions Associated With Hypoglycemia Awareness Status and Severe Hypoglycemia Experience in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes


Impaired awareness of hypoglycemia (IAH) and recurrent severe hypoglycemia (RSH) remain problematic for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), despite major therapeutic advances. We explored beliefs around hypo- and hyperglycemia in adults with T1D with, and without, IAH and RSH.


A cross-sectional U.S. multicenter survey included Attitudes to Awareness of Hypoglycemia (A2A; a 19-item questionnaire concerning beliefs about hypoglycemia), the Gold score (single item: awareness of hypoglycemia), and a question about severe hypoglycemia over the preceding year. The survey was emailed to 6,200 adult participants of the annual T1D Exchange clinic registry data collection. A2A data were subjected to principal component analysis with varimax rotation.


Among 1,978 respondents (response rate 32%), 61.7% were women, mean ± SD age was 39.6 ± 16.3 years, and T1D duration was 23.1 ± 13.8 years. Thirty-seven percent reported IAH, 16% RSH, and 9% both. A2A items segregated into three factors, differently distributed by hypoglycemia experience. Respondents with IAH or RSH expressed appropriate concern about hypoglycemia, but those with IAH were more likely to prioritize hyperglycemia concerns than those with intact awareness (P = 0.002). Those with RSH showed greater normalization of asymptomatic hypoglycemia than those without (P = 0.019) and trended toward prioritizing hyperglycemia concerns (P = 0.097), driven by those with both IAH and RSH.


Adults with T1D with IAH and RSH report specific cognitions about hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, which may act as barriers to hypoglycemia avoidance and recovery of awareness. These may be modifiable and present a target for enhancing engagement of vulnerable people with strategies to avoid future hypoglycemia.

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