Staying healthy with diabetes: Know your ABCs

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Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Do you know your diabetes ABCs? The ABCs of diabetes care are the lab values you want to manage so you can live well and long with diabetes: A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Diabetes ABCs

The ABCs of diabetes care

Do you know your ABCs? I bet you do! But do you know your ABCs of diabetes care? Maybe not. The ABCs are the three things you want to focus on so that you can stay healthy with diabetes:

A = A1C

The A1C, or "hemoglobin A1C", blood test measures an average level of blood glucose for the past two to three months and can be taken at any time of day. Since glucose attaches to the hemoglobin protein in the blood, the A1C test provides valuable information about overall blood glucose control. Maintaining your blood glucose in a healthy range helps protect your eyes, kidneys, and nerves from damage.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the standard goal is an A1C less than 7%, which is an average blood glucose of < 154 mg/dL. Click here for more information about the A1C test and blood glucose levels.

B = Blood pressure

Keeping blood pressure under control protects your kidneys. Exercise, limiting sodium in the diet, and weight loss can help lower blood pressure. If your doctor prescribes a blood pressure medication, take it! Some people quit taking their blood pressure medication without telling their doctor because they don't like the side effects. Please do not do that. Instead, talk with your doctor about what you are experiencing-there might be a different medication or dose that will have fewer side effects. The current goal is a blood pressure of less than 140/80.

C = Cholesterol levels

Cholesterol levels in your blood affect your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes have a triple or quadruple (3-4x) risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those without diabetes. Your blood cholesterol levels are affected by what you eat, how much you exercise, and how much extra weight you carry. To keep your risk of heart attack and stroke low, keep your blood cholesterol levels in check. For more information about cholesterol levels, click here. Here are current guidelines for blood cholesterol levels:

For tips to help lower cholesterol, check out this article.

Reach out to your healthcare provider if you struggle to meet the ABCs of your diabetes care. If you do not have regular care from a doctor or diabetes educator, call your local public health department for help. There could be low-cost or free programs offered to the public.

With a MyNetDiary Premium membership, you can track everything needed to help you successfully manage your diabetes. Along with nutrients, you can track your blood glucose and the diabetes ABCs.

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Original content provided by Kathy Isacks

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Diabetes->Blood glucose Diabetes->Health
Feb 11, 2022
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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