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AIM: To conduct a systematic review of published studies reporting on the longitudinal impacts of hypoglycaemia on quality of life (QoL) in adults with type 2 diabetes. METHOD: Database searches with no restrictions by language or date were conducted in MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL and PsycINFO. Studies were included for review if they used a longitudinal design (e.g. cohort studies, randomised controlled trials) and reported on the association between hypoglycaemia and changes over time in patient-reported outcomes related to QoL. RESULTS: In all, 20 longitudinal studies published between 1998 and 2020, representing 50,429 adults with type 2 diabetes, were selected for review. A descriptive synthesis following Synthesis Without Meta-analysis guidelines indicated that self-treated symptomatic hypoglycaemia was followed by impairments in daily functioning along with elevated symptoms of generalised anxiety, diabetes distress and fear of hypoglycaemia. Severe hypoglycaemic events were associated with reduced confidence in diabetes self-management and lower ratings of perceived health over time. Frequent hypoglycaemia was followed by reduced energy levels and diminished emotional well-being. There was insufficient evidence, however, to conclude that hypoglycaemia impacted sleep quality, depressive symptoms, general mood, social support or overall diabetes-specific QoL. CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal evidence in this review suggests hypoglycaemia is a common occurrence among adults with type 2 diabetes that impacts key facets in the physical and psychological domains of QoL. Nonetheless, additional longitudinal research is needed-in particular, studies targeting diverse forms of hypoglycaemia, more varied facets of QoL and outcomes assessed using hypoglycaemia-specific measures.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabet Med

Publication Date





adult, blood glucose, health-related quality of life, hypoglycaemia, quality of life, systematic review, type 2 diabetes, Adult, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Global Health, Humans, Hypoglycemia, Incidence, Longitudinal Studies, Quality of Life, Self Care