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A customized approach recommended to treat type 2 diabetes

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Health experts from the American Diabetic Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes recommends a more personalized, multi-pronged approach to treating patients with type 2 diabetes, and these new guidelines are scheduled to be published in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

These new guidelines, which may impact over one million Michigan adults with the disease, as well as the estimated 2.6 million Michigan adults with pre-diabetes, 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.

The new guidelines suggest that blood sugar targets should be looser for people who are older than 65 or 70, because they are more at risk of having complications from hypoglycemia, as well as being more at risk of side effects from taking multiple medications.

Lifestyle changes are also important in treating type 2 diabetes. They include losing 5 to 10 percent of body weight and participating in modest physical activity for at least 2.5 hours per week. Another recommendation is to add another drug to metformin therapy if blood sugar levels aren't under control after three months on metformin alone.

Quite simply, the new guidelines say, “Treat the patient and not the blood sugar.”

Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health

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