Journal of Theoretical Medicine
Volume 3 (2000), Issue 1, Pages 1-10

Risk Analysis of Blood Glucose Data: A Quantitative Approach to Optimizing the Control of Insulin Dependent Diabetes

University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Box 137, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA

Received 10 August 1999; Revised 1 October 1999; Accepted 18 January 2000

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients with Insulin-Dependent Diabetes are continuously involved in a clinical optimization process: to maintain strict glycemic control without increasing their risk for hypoglycemia. This study offers quantitative tools for on-line assessment of the quality of this optimization, based on self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG). Ninety-six adults with Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), age 35 ± 8 yrs., duration of diabetes 16 ± 10 yrs., HbAlc 8.6 ± 1.8%, 43 of whom had a recent history of severe hypoglycemia (SH), while 53 did not, used Lifescan One Touch II meters for 135 ± 53 SMBG readings over a month. For the following six months the subjects recorded occurrence of SH. The two patient groups, with and without a history of SH, did not differ in age, duration of diabetes, HbAlc, insulin units/day, average BG or BG variability. We suggest a computational procedure based on a symmetrization of the BG measurement scale and on a superimposed BG risk function, that allows for computation of two glycemic control markers: the Low BG Index (LBGI) and the High BG Index (HBGI). The LBGI is associated with SH: the LBGI and the rate of change of the BG risk, classified correctly 77% of the subjects with vs. without a history of SH and accounted for 46% of the variance of future SH. The HBGI, in combination with age, duration of diabetes and daily insulin dose, accounted for 57% of the variance of patients' glycosylated hemoglobin. We conclude that the LBGI and the HBGI are accurate on-line SMBG measures for patients' glycemic control.