Estimation of blood-glucose variability in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 1993 Aug;53(5):507-14. doi: 10.1080/00365519309092547.


The aim of the study described here was to evaluate the standard deviation (SD) as a measure of blood-glucose variability in IDDM patients under 'normal life' conditions. One hundred IDDM patients performed self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) five times every 2 days for 4 weeks. From these records the following measurements were calculated for each patient: the standard deviation of all blood-glucose values (SDBG), the M-value, the percentage of values < 3 and > 15 mmol l-1 (PE), and the mean, absolute difference of consecutive blood-glucose values (MAD), a novel measure of blood-glucose variability, also taking into consideration the succession of the values. Before the study the patients as well as their physicians were asked to estimate the blood-glucose stability of the patient, using a five-category scale of statements. The patients recorded an average of 64 (range: 32-70) SMBG values. The SDBG was normally distributed with a mean of 3.9 +/- 1.0 mmol l-1. There was a highly significant correlation between the SDBG and the other measures of blood-glucose variability (p = 0.0001, r > 0.8). It appeared that the variation of the SMBG values recorded before dinner contributed to the total glucose variability to a great extent. There was a poor agreement between the subjective estimations of the blood-glucose stability made by the patients and the physicians and the objective measures of the blood-glucose variability. It is concluded that the SD provides an accurate and easily available estimate of blood-glucose variability in IDDM patients practising home blood-glucose monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Blood Glucose