Type 1 diabetes once referred to as juvenile diabetes is no longer a children’s disease. More and more adults are being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes resulting in a need for more clarification around the difference in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and more concise blood glucose targets for those living with type 1 to aim for.

In a recent statement released by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) the recommended target for blood glucose levels measured by HbA1c a test that shows average blood glucose levels over several months has been lowered in an effort to better prevent complications due to prolonged high blood sugar levels over time.

It is now recommended that those under the age of 19 diagnosed with type 1 diabetes maintain an A1c level lower than 7.5 percent. The previous targets allowed for A1c levels of 8.5 percent for children under six years old, 8.0 percent for those 6-12 years and 7.5 percent for adolescents.

The reasoning behind the shift in target levels is based on research that now shows that having high blood sugar levels of a prolonged period of time can lead to early development of complications in children that were once believed to develop only in adults. Some of these complications include cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

"The evidence shows that there is a greater risk of harm from prolonged hyperglycemia that would occur if children maintained an A1C of 8.5 percent over time. This is not to say we are no longer concerned about hypoglycemia, but we now have better tools to monitor for hypoglycemia," said Jane Chiang, MD, Senior Vice President, Medical and Community Affairs, American Diabetes Association.”

Even though the official stance of the ADA has changed and HbA1c targets have shifted, it is important to understand that these are only guidelines to help individuals achieve the best outcomes over time. Each person must set their own blood glucose targets with the help of their doctor in order to successfully manage their diabetes. These targets are very individual and can be adjusted to meet lifestyle differences and needs.

To learn more about type 1 diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes In Control