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Do you know your ABCs?
Yes, we all learned them when we were little, but do you know the ABCs of diabetes? Managing your diabetes includes knowing your diabetes ABCs.
A = A1c(hemoglobin A1c)
Your A1c is an average of your total blood sugars over the past three months. In the blood, sugar/glucose attaches to red blood cells and stays there for the life of the red blood cell, which is about 120 days. The A1c test measures the amount of sugar/glucose attached to the red blood cells. An A1c level of an individual without diabetes is 5.6 percent and below. The goal for people with diabetes is 7 percent or less. At this level there is less risk of diabetic complications. If your blood glucose is stable and in control, it is recommended to have this test every six months. If you are not in control, it is recommended to have this test every three months.
B = Blood Pressure
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes have a blood pressure level no higher than 130/80. Approximately two-thirds of people with diabetes have high blood pressure. Since the main complication of diabetes is heart disease, it is important to keep the blood pressure well controlled. Elevated blood pressure also increases the risk of kidney damage. In combination with elevated blood sugar/glucose levels, the risk of kidney damage is further increased. Always ask what your pressure is when your doctor checks it.
C = Cholesterol
There are several levels, which are listed below. Cholesterol is what we call a lipid. Lipids are fatlike, but not actually fat. Under the category of lipids, are:
Since heart disease is the most common complication of diabetes, it is important to have these levels in control as elevated levels (with the exception of HDL cholesterol, which is considered a good type of cholesterol) increase your risk for heart disease. Guidelines are to have these levels checked every 12 months if normal. Your doctor will likely want to check them more frequently if they are not normal.
Knowing your diabetes ABCs can help you and your health care providers make adjustments in your diabetes care to help keep you healthy. Always keep up to date on these tests and if they are not in control, consult with your health care providers on how to best get them in control.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's diabetes services or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego endocrinologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about diabetes, visit Diabetes Care in Adult Health or read the Diabetes News archive.