ABC’s of Diabetes

ABC’s of Diabetes

If you have diabetes, managing the ABC’s of diabetes, A1c, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol, can help lower your chances of heart and blood vessel disease.

A is for A1c. The A1c is a test that shows your average blood glucose for the past three months. It helps provide a picture of your overall blood glucose control during this time. The A1c target for many people with diabetes is less than 7%, however, this may be different for you. It is important to discuss your A1c target with your doctor. The A1c should be tested every 3-6 months, depending on blood glucose control.

B is for Blood Pressure. Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels. High blood pressure occurs when blood moves through your vessels with too much force. If your blood pressure is high, it makes your heart work harder. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney and vision problems. According to the American Diabetes Association, the target blood pressure for people with diabetes is less than 140/90 mmHg. It is important that you discuss your blood pressure goal with your doctor. Make sure that you have your blood pressure checked at every doctor’s visit.

C is for Cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol because it can build up and clog your arteries. High LDL over time can lead to a heart attack or stroke. HDL cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol as it helps remove the bad cholesterol from your arteries. High HDL helps protect your heart. Elevated triglycerides can also increase your chance of heart attack or stroke. Ask your doctor what your cholesterol numbers should be and how often you should be tested.

Action to Take:

  • Know your ABC’s: talk to your healthcare team about your A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol values. Write them down and keep track of your progress.
  • Reach your targets: Ask your healthcare team what your targets should be and what you can do to reach them.

Resources: American Diabetes Association

Janet Arenas, RDN, LDN, CDE– Registered Dietitian/Health Coach