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A-B-Control of Type 2 Diabetes

ABCs of Diabetes Control

3 Key steps to lower heart attack and stroke risk

If you have diabetes, three key steps can help you lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Follow these steps – as easy as ABC:

A is for A1C test

A1C test is short for hemoglobin A1C.

This test measures your average blood glucose over the last 3 months. It lets you know if your blood glucose level is under control.

Get this test at least twice a year. Number to aim for: below 7.

B is for blood pressure

The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart has to work. Get your blood pressure measured at every doctor’s visit. Numbers to aim for: below 130/80 mmHg.

C is for cholesterol

LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, builds up and clogs your arteries. Get your LDL cholesterol tested at least once a year. Number to aim for: below 100 mg/dL. If you have both diabetes and heart disease, your doctor may advise you to aim for a lower target number, for example, less than 70.

Be sure to ask your doctor:

  • What are my ABC numbers?
  • What should my ABC target numbers be?
  • What actions should I take to reach my ABC target numbers?

To lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, also take these steps:

  • Be physically active every day.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about getting physical activity every day.
  • Eat less salt and sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
  • Eat more fiber. Choose fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Take medicines as prescribed.
  • Ask your doctor about taking aspirin.
  • Ask others to help you manage your diabetes.

Preventing Diabetes

If you have “prediabetes”-higher than normal glucose levels- you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. But you can take steps to improve your health, and delay or possibly prevent diabetes.

A recent study showed that many overweight, prediabetic people dramatically reduced their risk of developing diabetes by following a lower fat, lower calorie diet and getting 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days per week. The following are some encouraging results of the study:

  • Overall, people who achieved a 5- to 7-percent weight loss (about 10 to 15 pounds) through diet and increased physical activity (usually brisk walking) reduced their risk of diabetes by 58 percent over the next 3 years.
  • For people over age 60, these lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 71 percent.
  • Benefits were seen in all of the racial and ethnic groups that participated in the study-White, African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders.
  • People taking the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) reduced their risk of developing the disease by 31 percent.

These findings suggest that you can act to prevent or delay diabetes, even if you are at high risk for the disease.

Content Created/Medically Reviewed by our Expert Doctors
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