Aims/hypothesis: Post-prandial glucose may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and chronic diabetic complications. We tested the hypothesis that post-prandial hyperglycaemia is common in type 2 diabetes, even among patients in apparently good glycaemic control, and that simple clinical characteristics identify subsets of diabetic patients with frequent post-prandial hyperglycaemia.
Subjects and methods: Three self-assessed daily blood glucose profiles over a 1-week period, including 18 glucose readings before and 2 h after meals, were obtained from 3,284 unselected outpatients (men 51%; age 63+/-10 years) with non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetes mellitus attending 500 different diabetes clinics operating throughout Italy.
Results: A post-prandial blood glucose value >8.89 mmol/l (160 mg/dl) was recorded at least once in 84% of patients, and 81% of patients had at least one Delta glucose > or =2.22 mmol/l (40 mg/dl). Among patients with apparently good metabolic control, 38% had >40% of post-prandial blood glucose readings >8.89 mmol/l (> or =4 of 9 meals in total), and 36% had >40% Delta glucose > or =2.22 mmol/l. In multivariate analysis adjusted for pre-prandial glucose levels, older age, longer duration of diabetes, absence of obesity, hyperlipidaemia and hypertension, as well as treatment with sulfonylureas, were significantly associated with greater glucose excursions after meals.
Conclusions/interpretation: These results indicate that post-prandial hyperglycaemia is a very frequent phenomenon in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus on active treatment; can occur even when metabolic control is apparently good; and can be predicted by simple clinical features.