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National Diabetes Education Program

NDEP provides free diabetes education information to the public

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4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life - Step 2

07/15/2015 04:33PM | 2889 views

Step 2: Know your diabetes ABCs.

Talk to your health care team about how to manage your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. This can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.

A for the A1C test (A-one-C).

What is it?

The A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It is different from the blood sugar checks you do each day.

Why is it important?

You need to know your blood sugar levels over time. You don’t want those numbers to get too high. High levels of blood sugar can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.

What is the A1C goal?

The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.


B for Blood pressure.

What is it?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels.

Why is it important?

If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. It can cause a heart attack, stroke, and damage your kidneys and eyes.

What is the blood pressure goal?

The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.


C for Cholesterol (ko-LESS-tuh-ruhl).

What is it?

There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL.

LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. It can cause a heart attack or stroke.

HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels.

What are the LDL and HDL goals?

Ask what your cholesterol numbers should be. Your goals may be different from other people. If you are over 40 years of age, you may need to take a statin drug for heart health.

Actions you can take

Ask your health care team:

 

  • What your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers are and what they should be. Your ABC goals will depend on how long you have had diabetes, other health problems, and how hard your diabetes is to manage.
  • What you can do to reach your ABC goals
  • Write down your numbers on the record at the back of this booklet to track your progress.

 

 

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