Epidemiological, Social and Economic Burden of Severe Hypoglycaemia in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus in Portugal: A Structured Literature Review

Ana Rita Soares, Marisa Coelho, Marsha Tracey, Davide Carvalho, José Silva-Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The aim of this review was to identify and review studies reporting on the epidemiological, social and economic impact associated with severe hypoglycaemia (SH) in people with diabetes mellitus (DM) in Portugal. Methods: A structured literature search was carried out in PubMed and Embase using a predefined selection criterion. Studies published in either Portuguese or English, between January 2010 and February 2021 were deemed eligible for inclusion. Results: Twelve studies including adults (aged ≥ 18 years) with type 1 and/or type 2 diabetes mellitus (T1DM/T2DM) were eligible for inclusion. Epidemiological estimates varied according to the setting and type of data source used. The proportion of patients who experienced ≥ 1 SH episode (SHE) in the previous 6–12 months varied from 3.1% in adults with T2DM to 36.8% in adults with T1DM. In adults with T2DM the prevalence in a community-based study was highest in the insulin and secretagogue combination treated group (9.1%), while in an emergency department setting prevalence was highest in the insulin-based therapy group and the oral hypoglycaemic agent without secretagogues group (32.0% and 20.0%, respectively). The prevalence of SH in other studies in patients with DM ranged from 0.1% (emergency department) to 18.1% (hospital ward). Patients treated with secretagogues had the highest rates of hospitalisations. In patients with T1DM, the annual rate of SHE was higher in those with impaired hypoglycaemia awareness than in those with intact awareness. Mean total cost (direct and indirect) per SHE ranged from €1493.00 in patients with T2DM treated in an emergency setting to €2608.51 in patients with T1DM who were hospitalised. Conclusion: Hypoglycaemic events, especially SHE, have a significant effect on the life of persons living with DM and their caregivers. Studies show that the prevalence of this acute complication of diabetes is not negligible. In addition to the negative impact on the quality of life, the burden of SHE in Portugal translates into a significant impact on the global health expenditure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes Therapy
Early online date21 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Acute diabetes complications
  • Cost of illness
  • Diabetes complications burden
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Epidemiology
  • Portugal
  • Severe hypoglycaemia
  • Structured literature review


Dive into the research topics of 'Epidemiological, Social and Economic Burden of Severe Hypoglycaemia in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus in Portugal: A Structured Literature Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this