Known as “the ABCs”, understanding your A1C, Blood pressure and Cholesterol numbers can help you determine the success of your overall management regimen. Elevated levels can serve as early warning signs so that corrective action may be taken before irreversible harm is done.
The A1C test measures your average blood glucose level for the past 2-3 month period, and is also known by many as the “3 month average blood glucose.” The A1C level can give you and your health care provider a big-picture perspective as to how well your diabetes treatment is working.
In general, it is recommended that A1C tests are taken every 6 months and the results reviewed with a physician.
Blood pressure is described by the American Heart Association as “the force of blood against the arteries
when the heart beats and rests.” Your blood pressure consists of two numbers, an upper number which reflects the force of the blood against the arteries when the heartbeats, and a lower number which represents the pressure at rest. For a person with diabetes, the recommendation is that the blood pressure stays below 130/80.
As many as 2 out of 3 people with diabetes have blood pressure numbers above the recommended range – high blood pressure. For those with diabetes and high blood pressure, the recommendation is that blood pressure stays below 140/90.
The ADA recommends that blood pressure be checked at every routine doctor visit, or at least 2-4 times a year.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver and found in the blood. About 75% of our cholesterol is naturally produced in our bodies and we get about 25% of our cholesterol from the foods we eat. Cholesterol in food is only found in animal products. The amount of cholesterol our bodies make is also influenced by our family health history. Cholesterol isn’t a bad thing, it actually works to help keep us healthy. The problem comes when there are too much of certain types of cholesterol in the blood. People with diabetes are more likely to have higher cholesterol levels.
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