People who experience biochemical hypoglycaemia during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) may be insulin resistant, but this has not been investigated robustly, therefore we examined this in a population-based multi-ethnic UK study.
Cross-sectional data from 6478 diabetes-free participants (849 with fasting insulin data available) who had an OGTT in the ADDITION-Leicester screening study (2005-2009) were analysed. People with biochemical hypoglycaemia (2-h glucose <3.3mmol/l) were compared with people with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) or impaired glucose regulation (IGR) using regression methods.
359 participants (5.5%) had biochemical hypoglycaemia, 1079 (16.7%) IGR and 5040 (77.8%) NGT. Biochemical hypoglycaemia was associated with younger age (P<0.01), white European ethnicity (P<0.001), higher HDL cholesterol (P<0.01), higher insulin sensitivity (P<0.05), and lower body mass index (P<0.001), blood pressure (P<0.01), fasting glucose (P<0.001), HbA1C (P<0.01), and triglycerides (P<0.01) compared with NGT and IGR separately in both unadjusted and adjusted (age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status) models.
Biochemical hypoglycaemia during an OGTT in the absence of diabetes or IGR was not associated with insulin resistance, but instead appeared to be associated with more favourable glycaemic risk profiles than IGR and NGT. Thus, clinicians may not need to intervene due to biochemical hypoglycaemia on a 2-h OGTT.