In type 1 diabetes (T1D), for which insulin treatment is assumed, the prevalence of severe hypoglycaemia increases with the duration of the disorder. As shown in the graph below, the annual prevalence in people who have had T1D for under 5 years is about 20%, while it exceeds 40% in those who have had the disorder for over 5 years.

In type 2 diabetes (T2D), both duration and medical treatment influence the risk. The annual risk of severe hypoglycaemia is significant for T2D patients on sulfonylureas (SUs) and on insulin, especially if on insulin for over
5 years (> 20% risk).

Annual prevalence of severe hypoglycaemia
By diabetes type and medication status1

Graph portraying Annual prevalence of severe hypoglycaemia categorized by diabetes type and medication status
Adapted from Diabetologia 2007;50:1140.

Non-severe hypoglycaemia, which adults can self-treat, is more common than severe hypoglycaemia, but poses far less risk to health and life.


  1. ISPAD Clinical Practice Consensus Guidelines 2009 Compendium: Assessment and management of hypoglycemia in children and adolescents with diabetes. Pediatric Diabetes 2009;10(Suppl. 12):134.