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Diabetes Groups Issue New Guidelines on Blood Sugar
Date:4/19/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Type 2 diabetes is a complex metabolic disorder, and treating the disease often requires a personalized, multi-pronged approach, say new expert guidelines on treating high blood sugar levels, issued Thursday.

The recommendations are a joint effort by the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

"We're making a lot of progress in managing type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Vivian Fonseca, president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association. "The new guidelines are more patient-centered. The message is to choose an appropriate [blood sugar] goal based on the patient's current health status, motivation level, resources and complications."

"It is very possible to manage type 2 diabetes well and keep blood sugar under good control," he noted. "It's important that patients have a discussion with their doctor about what their [blood sugar] goals should be, and what is the best treatment or treatments to get them to that goal."

The new guidelines are scheduled to be published in the June issue of Diabetes Care, but were released online ahead of publication on April 19.

Fonseca said the new guidelines were necessary because the management of type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly complex; there is a widening array of medications available to treat the disease, and new research studies are constantly being released highlighting both the benefits and the risks of current treatments.

The biggest change in the new guidelines is an emphasis on a patient-centered approach to treatment. For example, the blood sugar goal for someone who's young, healthy and motivated to manage type 2 diabetes will be lower than it is for someone who's elderly and has additional health problems.

Blood sugar goals are usually expressed in terms of hemoglobin A1C levels (HbA1C). HbA1
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