Diabetes Health

New Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Guidelines Issued

New guidelines on treating type 2 diabetes emphasize a patient-centered approach and say that treatment often requires a personalized, multi-pronged therapy. The guidelines also lower the target for A1C from 7 to between 6 and 6.5.

Photo of woman talking with her doctor

"We're making a lot of progress in managing type 2 diabetes," says Vivian Fonseca, M.D., at the American Diabetes Association (ADA). "The message is to choose an appropriate goal based on the patient's current health status, motivation level, resources, and complications."

The new guidelines were issued by the ADA and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Many options

Dr. Fonseca says today's broad range of drugs, along with a constant stream of conflicting research, makes the management of type 2 diabetes a complex process. But, giving doctors and patients more leeway to choose among all the options should make blood sugar control an easier undertaking.

Previously, people with diabetes were encouraged to keep their A1C level - a measurement of blood sugar control - at 7 percent.

But, the new guidelines say that more stringent goals might be more appropriate, depending on the patient. One example is the new goal for younger patients with no history of heart disease or other complications: Their A1C should be 6 to 6.5 percent. Older patients with heart disease or other complications may need an A1C goal of 7.5 to 8 because they're at higher risk for low blood sugar or have side effects from taking multiple medications.

Healthy lifestyle

Beyond changes to A1C, however, the guidelines continue to promote the lifestyle changes that are an important part of any type 2 diabetes management plan. New recommendations are to lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight, and to exercise moderately to vigorously for a total of 30 minutes five days a week.

The guidelines also suggest using the medication metformin as the initial treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. They say that additional medications can be used when appropriate.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

Online Resources

(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)

American Diabetes Association - Diabetes 24/7

American Diabetes Association - Tight Diabetes Control

American Heart Association - Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes

June 2012

Why a Healthy Lifestyle Can Help

People with type 2 diabetes can sometimes control their condition through diet and exercise. Even if you need medication for your diabetes, a healthy lifestyle can help you manage your condition and avoid complications.

Eating a nutritious low-fat diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and control your blood sugar. Here are some healthy eating tips from the American Diabetes Association:

  • Eat a variety of foods each day.

  • Keep portions under control.

  • Eat foods high in fiber, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Eat less fat, particularly saturated fat.

  • Use less added sugar.

  • Don't salt your food and buy low-sodium prepared foods.

To round out your healthy lifestyle, be active. Try to get at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day. Regular exercise can help with weight management and blood sugar control. Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

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