Be smart about your heart: Control the ABCs of diabetes
By: Mary Kay Marciniak, Pine Journal
If you’re one of the more than 26 million Americans with diabetes, you are at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is more likely to strike you – and at an earlier age – than it is to strike your friends and family without diabetes. You have the power to prevent heart attack and stroke by controlling the ABCs of diabetes.
What does ABC stand for?
A is for A1C. The A1C test (also called hemoglobin A1c test) measures your average blood glucose (sugar) over the last three months. Should be tested at least twice a year.
B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard. Have checked at each doctor visit.
C is for cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your arteries. Have tested at least once a year.
What should my ABC target numbers be?
For most people with diabetes, the goals are A1C below 7, blood pressure below 130/80, and LDL cholesterol below 100.
What actions can I take to reach my ABC target numbers?
You and your health care provider will put together an action plan of lifestyle changes and medications, if needed, to help you reach and maintain your goals for the ABCs of diabetes. Actions plans include:
+ Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week.
+ Eat less fat and salt; eat more fiber – choose whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
+ Stay at a healthy weight.
+ Stop smoking – ask your provider for help.
+ Take medicines as prescribed.
+ Ask your doctor about taking aspirin.
+ Ask others to help you manage your diabetes.
Mary Kay Marciniak, RN, CDE, is the director of diabetes education at Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet. Contact her at 878-7661.