The assessment of glycemic variability and its impact on diabetes-related complications: an overview

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2009 Oct;11(10):623-33. doi: 10.1089/dia.2009.0043.


There is a growing body of evidence that the sole use of hemoglobin A1c is insufficient to adequately reflect the metabolic situation of patients with diabetes mellitus. The risk of developing diabetes-related complications apparently not only depends on the long-term stability of glucose values, but also on the presence or occurrence of short-term glycemic peaks and nadirs lasting for minutes or hours during a day. This leads to the phenomenon of glycemic variability. This article reviews the existing evidence for the clinical relevance of short-term glucose variations and the currently available different means of measuring glycemic variability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism
  • Glycemic Index


  • Blood Glucose