Does glycemic variability impact mood and quality of life?

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012 Apr;14(4):303-10. doi: 10.1089/dia.2011.0191. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Background: Diabetes is a chronic condition that significantly impacts quality of life. Poor glycemic control is associated with more diabetes complications, depression, and worse quality of life. The impact of glycemic variability on mood and quality of life has not been studied.

Methods: A descriptive exploratory design was used. Twenty-three women with type 2 diabetes wore a continuous glucose monitoring system for 72 h and completed a series of questionnaires. Measurements included (1) glycemic control shown by glycated hemoglobin and 24-h mean glucose, (2) glycemic variability shown by 24-h SD of the glucose readings, continuous overall net glycemic action (CONGA), and Fourier statistical models to generate smoothed curves to assess rate of change defined as "energy," and (3) mood (depression, anxiety, anger) and quality of life by questionnaires.

Results: Women with diabetes and co-morbid depression had higher anxiety, more anger, and lower quality of life than those without depression. Certain glycemic variability measures were associated with mood and quality of life. The 24-h SD of the glucose readings and the CONGA measures were significantly associated with health-related quality of life after adjusting for age and weight. Fourier models indicated that certain energy components were significantly associated with depression, trait anxiety, and overall quality of life. Finally, subjects with higher trait anxiety tended to have steeper glucose excursions.

Conclusions: Data suggest that greater glycemic variability may be associated with lower quality of life and negative moods. Implications include replication of the study in a larger sample for the assessment of blood glucose fluctuations as they impact mood and quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Anger*
  • Anxiety / blood*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / blood*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human