Hyperglycaemia, Hypoglycaemia, and Blood Glucose Control in Diabetes: Symptom Perceptions and Treatment Strategies

William H. Polonsky, C. L. Davis, A. M. Jacobson, B. J. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Recent research has suggested that patients with Type 1 diabetes who are in chronically poor blood glucose control perceive hyperglycaemia differently from those who are in good control. To extend these observations 181 insulin‐treated patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes were studied. Patients completed a self‐report questionnaire which included items concerning feelings about high and low blood glucose levels and strategies for maintaining blood glucose control. Glycosylated haemoglobin levels were also measured. We hypothesized that level of blood glucose control would: (1) be associated with perceptions of hyperglycaemia and treatment strategies for managing hyperglycaemia and (2) not be associated with perceptions and strategies concerning hypoglycaemia. In comparison with those in ‘acceptable’ or ‘poor’ blood glucose control, those in ‘good’ control perceived symptoms of hyperglycaemia at lower blood glucose levels (p < 0.001) and felt physically best at lower blood glucose levels (p < 0.001). They also began treatment for hyperglycaemia at lower glucose levels (p < 0.05), set lower minimal (p < 0.001) and maximal (p < 0.001) glucose levels as treatment goals, and tested their blood glucose levels more frequently (p < 0.05). Among Type 1 diabetic patients, those in ‘good’ control reported experiencing hypoglycaemia at lower glucose levels than those in ‘acceptable’ or ‘poor’ control (p < 0.05). No differences in treatment strategies of hypoglycaemic symptoms were apparent. This study suggests an influence of patients' perceptions of symptoms and treatment in self‐care of diabetes. 1992 Diabetes UK

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-125
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1992


  • Diabetes
  • Hyperglycaemia
  • Self‐care strategies
  • Symptom perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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