A long and healthy life starts with taking control of your diabetes. Understanding your diabetes ABCs will assist you in managing your health condition. Working toward your ABCs targets can help reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes complications.
A = A1C test
Monitoring your blood glucose levels at home between doctor visits lets you know if your actions are effective in controlling your blood sugar levels. The A1C test assesses blood glucose control over the preceding 2-3 months. The target for most diabetics is less than 7%, but even lower levels reduce the risk of complications. Certain populations, such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly, necessitate special consideration.
B = Blood Pressure
Controlling your blood pressure is just as important as maintaining your blood sugar if you have diabetes. High blood pressure increases your chances of having a heart attack, a stroke, or developing kidney disease. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, your blood pressure goal should be less than 120/80 mmHg.
C = Cholesterol
A high level of bad cholesterol can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Diabetes patients should have a blood test to measure triglycerides, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and other factors. Inquire with your doctor about your ideal cholesterol levels.
S = Stop Smoking
Quitting smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Quitting smoking reduces your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, nerve disease, kidney disease, diabetic eye disease, and amputation.
People with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who do not have diabetes. Diabetes can also cause heart attacks at a younger age. When this occurs, heart attacks can become more severe and fatal. Furthermore, people with diabetes are much more likely to develop kidney disease. You can significantly reduce your risk of these issues by controlling your ABCs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 30). Manage blood sugar. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/manage-blood-sugar.html
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016, December). Managing diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/managing-diabetes
Patient education: The ABCs of diabetes (The Basics). UpToDate. (2022, February 7) from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/the-abcs-of-diabetes-the-basics