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The Centers for Disease Control recommends individuals with diabetes remember the “ABCs of Diabetes.“ This acronym is a reminder of the importance of tracking blood sugar numbers, along with blood pressure and cholesterol. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are well-known risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
More than 34.2 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 88 million with prediabetes. If you have diabetes, it is vital to work with your doctor to manage your diabetes ABCs and record your numbers. Staying on track will help you lower your risk of additional health problems such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.
ABCs of Diabetes
In addition to knowing your numbers, lifestyle changes are also essential in managing diabetes and medications sometimes. So, if you’re living with diabetes, try to remember these ABCs:
- A1C, or HbA1c, average blood glucose in the last 3 months. Used to determine how well you are managing your diabetes, the goal is less than 7%.
- Blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should. The blood pressure goal is less than 140/90 mm Hg.
- Cholesterol is a fat (also called a lipid) that your body needs to work correctly. Too much bad fat LDL (lousy cholesterol) contributes to heart attacks, strokes, and other problems. LDL goal is less than 100mg/dl.
- Stop smoking; for help, call 1-800-Quit Now.
Additional Diabetes Screenings
- Dental exam, once per year.
- Eye exam, once per year.
- Foot exam, once per year.
- Get vaccinated yearly; shots encouraged are influenza, pneumococcal, Zoster, and others.
In addition to managing the ABCs of diabetes, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet plan and follow your food plan. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber food. Cut back on salt.
- Exercise and increase physical activity daily. When you exercise, less insulin is required to keep blood sugar levels under control. Exercise 150 minutes weekly or 30 minutes 5 days a week.
- Quit smoking. Smoking contributes to significant health conditions.
- If on medication, take as prescribed.