Hypoglycaemia is a greatly feared acute complication of patients receiving certain treatments for diabetes that can have profound consequences for lifestyle and occupation. Severe episodes of hypoglycaemia have a major impact on morbidity and are potentially fatal.
Hypoglycaemia is characterised by a low plasma glucose concentration although the exact biochemical definition varies between sources. However, the European Medicines Agency1 and the American Diabetes Association2 suggest a plasma glucose concentration of less than or equal to 3.9mmol/L. Symptomatic hypoglycaemia is an event when typical symptoms of hypoglycaemia accompany these plasma glucose concentrations. When symptoms are absent, this constitutes asymptomatic hypoglycaemia.