Prediction and prevention of hypoglycaemic events in type-1 diabetic patients using machine learning

Health Informatics J. 2020 Mar;26(1):703-718. doi: 10.1177/1460458219850682. Epub 2019 Jun 13.


Tight blood glucose control reduces the risk of microvascular and macrovascular complications in patients with type 1 diabetes. However, this is very difficult due to the large intra-individual variability and other factors that affect glycaemic control. The main limiting factor to achieve strict control of glucose levels in patients on intensive insulin therapy is the risk of severe hypoglycaemia. Therefore, hypoglycaemia is the main safety problem in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, negatively affecting the quality of life of patients suffering from this disease. Decision support tools based on machine learning methods have become a viable way to enhance patient safety by anticipating adverse glycaemic events. This study proposes the application of four machine learning algorithms to tackle the problem of safety in diabetes management: (1) grammatical evolution for the mid-term continuous prediction of blood glucose levels, (2) support vector machines to predict hypoglycaemic events during postprandial periods, (3) artificial neural networks to predict hypoglycaemic episodes overnight, and (4) data mining to profile diabetes management scenarios. The proposal consists of the combination of prediction and classification capabilities of the implemented approaches. The resulting system significantly reduces the number of episodes of hypoglycaemia, improving safety and providing patients with greater confidence in decision-making.

Keywords: blood glucose prediction; decision support systems; diabetes management; hypoglycaemia; machine learning; type-1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia* / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Machine Learning
  • Quality of Life


  • Hypoglycemic Agents