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Diabetes emergency prep kit.

More than 34.2 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 88 million people have prediabetes. If you have diabetes, it is vital to work with your doctor to manage the ABCs of diabetes and record your numbers. Staying on track will help lower your risk of additional health problems such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

The ABCs

The “ABCs of Diabetes”  (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol) is a reminder of the importance of tracking your blood sugar numbers, blood pressure, and cholesterol. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are well-known risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

  • A1C, or HbA1c, is the average blood glucose in the last three months. Used to determine how well you are managing your diabetes, the goal is less than 7 percent.
  • 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. The LDL goal is less than 100mg/dl.

Diabetes Care Team

A good healthcare team is a key to staying healthy and managing the ABCs of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association a diabetes care team can include the following:

Primary care physician (PCP) or primary care provider. A PCP is a highly trained healthcare professional who practices general medicine and non-surgical healthcare to patients. Your PCP is usually a family medicine doctor who has experience treating people with diabetes. PCPs are the first stop for medical care for general checkups and when you get sick. Because your primary care doctor is your main source of care, they will most likely lead your diabetes care team.

Endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a specialist trained and experienced in treating people with diabetes.

Registered dietitian. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend seeing a dietitian to help you develop a healthy eating plan. The plan enables you to control your blood sugar (glucose), manage your weight, and control heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high blood fats.

There are so many others that can play a role in managing and controlling your diabetes: your podiatrist (foot doctor), optometrist (eye doctor), dentist, psychologist (mental health), pharmacist, and so many others.

The most important member of the diabetes care team is you, the patient. Your diabetes care team will depend on you to talk to them openly and honestly and provide information about how you feel. Monitoring your blood sugar tells your doctors whether your current treatment plan controls your diabetes. By checking your blood sugar levels, you can also help prevent or reduce hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) episodes.