Know Your Diabetes ABCs
But there’s one simple reminder for being a healthier, happier you: Know your diabetes ABCs.
A is for A1c
A1c is a test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. Your doctor may refer to it by other names — including the glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c test.
The higher your A1c level, the greater the risk for diabetes complications. Most adults with diabetes should aim for an A1c below 7%.
Talk to your doctor about how often to get an A1c test (usually at least twice a year).
B is for Blood Pressure
Testing your blood pressure measures how hard your heart works to pump blood throughout your body. The test results include two numbers:
- The top number shows systolic pressure (when your heart beats)
- The bottom number shows diastolic pressure (when the heart is resting)
High blood pressure increases the chance of having a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease. A good goal for healthy blood pressure is 120/80 or lower.
Get your blood pressure checked every time you visit your doctor.
C is for Cholesterol
A cholesterol test — also called a lipid panel or lipid profile — measures the amount of four types of fats in your blood:
- Total cholesterol. The total amount of cholesterol in your blood.
- LDL (bad) cholesterol. Too many low-density lipoproteins can build up to reduce or block blood flow in the arteries.
- HDL (good) cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins help remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries to keep blood flowing.
- Triglycerides. Another form of fat that can raise your risk for heart disease.
Generally, total cholesterol < (less than) 200 mg/dL, LDL < (less than)100 mg/dL, HDL > (greater than) 60 mg/dL and triglycerides < (less than) 150 mg/dL are healthy levels for adults.
How often you should test your cholesterol depends on your age and other health factors.
Knowledge is power
Keeping your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control plays a big role in keeping your heart healthy and strong. So be sure to talk to your doctor about your diabetes ABCs.