Staying healthy when you have diabetes can be challenging. But the more you focus on the positive results of a healthy diet, medication routine and regular exercise, the easier it will be to keep your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol in good control. It’s as easy as learning your ABCs!
A is for A1C
A1C is a blood test that measures an individual’s average blood sugar or blood glucose levels over the last 2–3 months. A1C is a percentage, often ranging from 4-12. High A1C results put you at risk for future health problems.
Another way to express this average is called estimated average glucose (eAG). The difference is that it’s written in mg/dL (the same number you see when you check your blood glucose on your home monitor) instead of a percentage.
Your healthcare provider will work with you to set an A1C/eAG goal specifically for you. However, the American Diabetes Association recommends that most people with diabetes aim for an A1C of less than 7.0 (eAG of 154) and the American Academy of Endocrinologists and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) recommend an A1C of 6.5 or lower (eAG of 140). This will help you remain healthy and reduce your risk for complications of diabetes.
B is for Blood Pressure
Blood pressure — As your heart pumps blood through your body, pressure is applied to the inside walls of your blood vessels. If you have high blood pressure, your heart is working harder than it should—and this can cause health problems.
Blood pressure is easily measured at the doctor’s office or with a home blood pressure monitor. For most people with diabetes, blood pressure should be less than 130/80mmHg.
High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke, heart attack and kidney disease. It is important to take action to get your blood pressure in control.
C is for Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a form of fat that can build up in your blood, putting you at an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. It has three parts that can be measured: low density lipoproteins or LDL, high-density lipoproteins or HDL, and triglycerides.
Levels of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, that are too high can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL, or “good” cholesterol, helps remove cholesterol from your blood. High triglycerides (a form of fat that floats in the blood along with cholesterol) may increase your risks as well. It’s important that all parts of your cholesterol are within healthy levels.
For most people with diabetes, cholesterol goals are:
LDL – less than 100 mg/dL
HDL – greater than 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women
Triglycerides – less than 150 mg/d
Source: American Association of Diabetes Educators