• The ABCs of Diabetes Management


    To keep your diabetes under control, you can start with the ABCs of diabetes management:

    A is for A1C. The A1C test gives your doctor important insight into your blood glucose levels over the previous two to three months. It's a good idea to check your A1C level twice a year. For most people who have diabetes, the goal is an A1C of less than 7 percent. Your physician will advise you on your target A1C.

    B is for blood pressure. When a person with diabetes also has high blood pressure, the risk for cardiovascular disease doubles. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to circulate blood, and can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage. Studies have also shown that there is a link between high blood pressure and resistance to insulin by the body's cells. For people with diabetes, the goal is a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mmHg.

    C is for cholesterol. In people with diabetes, LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, tends to build up and clog the arteries. Triglycerides, another form of fat that can cause atherosclerosis, also tend to be abnormally high in diabetes. HDL, or "good" cholesterol, helps keep the arteries healthy by removing cholesterol from the body. In diabetes, HDL levels tend to be lower than normal. This combination of abnormal lipid levels is often seen in people with premature heart disease.

    For most people, target blood levels of these lipids are

    • Total cholesterol, less than 200 mg/dL
    • LDL cholesterol, less than 100 mg/dL (below 70 mg/dL for those who already have, or are at high risk for, heart disease)
    • Triglycerides, less than 150 mg/dL
    • HDL cholesterol, greater than 40 mg/dL for men and greater than 50 mg/dL for women
    In addition to the ABCs of diabetes care, there are many steps you can take to stay healthy. Click here to learn about Lifestyle Changes & Medications for Diabetes.