ADA Revises Blood Sugar Target Levels for Children with Type 1 Diabetes

First Posted: Jun 17, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has released a new statement regarding the new blood sugar (glucose) target level for children with type 1 diabetes.

According to experts, patients under the age of 19 should try to maintain an A1C blood sugar level that's less than 7.5 percent. A1C is a test that measures the average blood sugar (glucose) levels over the span of several months, according to a news release.

"The new targets should help redouble efforts at improving glucose control in the patient group that is currently most challenging -- adolescents," said Dr. Robert Rapaport, director of the division of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai, New York City, according to WebMD. He was not involved in drawing up the new guidelines.

Prior to the new statement, experts said they believed that A1C levels as high as 8.5 percent were safe for children under 6. In fact, researchers had even considered 8 to 7.5 percent A1C levels for children 6 to 12 and 13 to 19 safe. Yet new findings show that hyperglycemia, otherwise known as high blood sugar levels, can be incredibly dangerous to children dealing with type 1 diabetes.

As health experts used to believe that hyperglycemia was a health issue that primarily affected older diabetic adults, new findings show that the condition can pose serious health complications for younger diabetic individuals, as well--some of which may even harm the heart and/or the kidneys. 

"Considering the risk of hypoglycemia in the young children, the management should be personalized," said Dr. Siham Accacha, director of the pediatric diabetes program at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. "More than any other condition, treating children with diabetes requires special consideration."

"People with type 1 require more supplies and must monitor their blood glucose levels more often. This is not a one-size-fits-all disease, and it's important that we recognize that," she added.

More information about the new guidelines were released at the ADA's meeting in San Francisco, Calif. The new AC1 estimates were also simultaneously published in the journal Diabetes Care. 

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