Context: Two-hour postprandial hyperglycemia is related to chronic complications of diabetes and is currently used in the international guidelines to drive the therapy.
Objective: Our objective was to assess the size and timing of post-meal glucose peaks in the everyday life of type 2 diabetic patients and the relationship with carotid atherosclerosis.
Design, setting, and patients: This was an observational study performed in 644 outpatients with type 2 diabetes attending diabetes clinics located in the area of the Campania County, South Italy, who provided complete home blood glucose profiles and centralized carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) assessment. The study was conducted from 2001-2005.
Main outcome measures: Incremental glucose peak (IGP) was the maximal incremental increase in blood glucose obtained at any point after the meal. CIMT was assessed by carotid sonography.
Results: The level of glycosylated hemoglobin and CIMT progressively increased across quintiles of IGP (P for trend = 0.01 for both). In univariate analysis, all examined glycemic parameters were significantly correlated with CIMT. IGP (r = 0.40; P = 0.006) showed the strongest correlation with CIMT, which remained significant in multiple linear regression analysis (R(2) = 0.26; P = 0.01). IGP was associated with a significant increase of CIMT in tertiles of glycosylated hemoglobin. IGP occurred within 1 h from the start of the meal in 95% of the entire diabetic population.
Conclusion: IGPs are frequent in the everyday life of patients with type 2 diabetes, occur for most (95%) within 1 h after meal, timing of IGPs is not influenced by treatment (diet or drugs), and IGPs correlate with CIMT.