Glycaemic variability: The under-recognized therapeutic target in type 1 diabetes care.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) remains one of the most challenging long-term conditions to manage. Despite robust evidence to demonstrate that near normoglycaemia minimizes (but does not completely eliminate) the risk of complications, its achievement has proved almost impossible to attain in a real-world setting. HbA1c to date has been used as the gold standard marker of glucose control and has been shown to reflect directly the risk of diabetes complications. However, it has been recognized that HbA1c is a crude marker of glucose control. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) provides the ability to measure and observe inter- and intraday glycaemic variability (GV), a more meaningful measure of glycaemic control, more relevant to daily living for those with T1DM. This paper reviews the relationship between GV and hypoglycaemia, and micro- and macrovascular complications. It also explores the impact of CGM, insulin pumps, closed-loop technologies, and newer insulins and adjunctive therapies on GV. Looking to the future, there is an argument that GV should become a key determinant of therapeutic success. Further studies are required to investigate the pathological and psychological benefits of reducing GV.