New guidelines to treat diabetes in children

February 7, 2013 7:07:28 AM PST
Type I diabetes is usually seen in kids, where the body does not make enough insulin. Type II diabetes is the one that is linked to obesity, and it used to only be a disease that adults get, however not anymore. It is being diagnosed in children so often that some are calling it an epidemic.

Most pediatricians are not even trained to treat Type II diabetes. Now, there is a new set of guidelines to help doctors treat the disease in children. For the first time, new treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics target children between the ages of 10 and 18.

"This is a serious disease that does require lifestyle changes, but also medication," said Dr. Laurie Tsilisandidis of the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

In fact, the medication Metformin is now recommended for most children who were diagnosed with the condition.

"We found that recommending lifestyle modifications, which may be an appropriate initial approach in adults, has a success rate of less than 10% in children," Dr. Tsilisandidis added.

Lifestyle changes are still crucial to fighting Type II diabetes: more exercise and better diets. For children with extremely high blood sugar levels, the new guidelines recommend insulin injections as well.

"If blood sugar is above 250, you probably need insulin. In other situations, metformin might be the appropriate place to start, and there are advantages to using that too," said Dr. Tsilisandidis.

It is always tough for parents and for doctors to put kids on medication. They do not necessarily have to take the pills forever. The goal of the guidelines is to treat the diabetes aggressively and early, so they can one day stop the medication and prevent long-term problems.

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