Barbara Boughton

April 14, 2011

April 14, 2011 (San Diego, California) — The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE) has released new clinical practice guidelines for developing comprehensive care plans for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, developed by a panel of 23 of the country's leading diabetes experts.

The guidelines emphasize the importance of achieving a treatment plan that avoids hypoglycemia, now considered to be a continual and pressing concern for many patients with diabetes. The implications of the new guidelines for practicing physicians, as well as new data on low blood sugar in patients with diabetes, will be discussed tomorrow here at the AACE 20th Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress. The new AACE guidelines are also published in supplement 2 of the March/April issue of the association's official medical journal, Endocrine Practice.

The guidelines emphasize a personalized approach to controlling diabetes and achieving blood glucose targets with care plans that take into account patients' risk factors for complications, comorbid conditions, and psychological, social, and economic status. Although the guidelines recommend a blood glucose target of an HbA1c level of 6.5%, if it can be achieved safely, a treatment plan should take into account a patient's risk for the development of severe hypoglycemia.

The new guidelines also provide information on the appropriate use of new technologies such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring, as well as managing conditions that may not be immediately obvious to treating physicians, such as sleep and breathing disturbances and depression.

In a statement, Yehuda Handelsman, MD, AACE president-elect and cochair of the AACE Diabetes Guidelines Writing Committee, said that it was crucial for physicians to address not just hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes but also associated cardiovascular risk factors. "These state-of-the-art guidelines provide the most up-to-date evidence-based answers to real-life [clinical] questions," Dr. Handelsman said.

In the guidelines, AACE recommends comprehensive diabetes lifestyle management education at the time of diagnosis, as well as throughout the course of diabetes. The importance of medical nutrition therapy, physical activity, avoidance of tobacco products, and adequate quantity and quality of sleep should be discussed with patients who have prediabetes, as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to the new guidelines.

Dr. Handelsman has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 20th Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress: Opening Session. Presented April 14, 2011.

Endocr Pract. 2011;17(Suppl 2):1-53. Full text

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