The ABC of diabetes (The fundamentals)
What can I do to keep myself as healthy as possible if I have diabetes? – If you have diabetes (sometimes called diabetes mellitus), the most important thing you can do is control your "ABC":
? "A" means "A1C" – A1C is a blood test that shows what your average blood sugar level has been during the past few months.
? "B" stands for "blood pressure": if you have diabetes, controlling your blood pressure is as important as controlling your blood sugar. High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
? "C" stands for "cholesterol": cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. High cholesterol is another factor that increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other serious problems.
Why are my ABCs so important? – Compared to people who do not have diabetes, people who have diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes also have heart attacks at a younger age, and are more serious and more deadly. In addition, people with diabetes are much more likely to have kidney disease. By keeping your ABC under control, you can greatly reduce the risk of these problems.
Is not my blood sugar the most important thing? –
Maintaining low blood sugar is important to prevent some problems caused by diabetes, including:
? Eye diseases that lead to loss of vision or blindness.
? Kidney disease
? Damage to the nerves (called "neuropathy") that can cause numbness or pain in the hands and feet
? The need to remove the fingers, toes, or other parts of the body by surgery (amputation)
Even so, blood sugar is just one of the things that should get your attention. This is because the problems caused by high blood pressure and high cholesterol are usually more severe than those caused by high blood sugar.
What should my ABC levels be? – The levels you should aspire to depend on the severity of your diabetes, the age you have and the other health problems you have. Ask your doctor or nurse what your target levels should be.
Many people with diabetes aim to:
? A1C levels below 7 percent
? Blood pressure below 140/90, or lower in some cases
? LDL cholesterol level below 100 (LDL is a type of cholesterol, often called "bad cholesterol" or "bad cholesterol")
How can I control my ABC? – You and your doctor will work together to create a plan to keep your ABC under control. Your plan may include:
? Medications: Most people with diabetes take medications every day to control their blood sugar. You may also need to monitor your blood sugar level every day. In addition, many people with diabetes need medications every day to treat high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or to prevent future health problems. If you have a problem with your medications or can not afford them, talk with your doctor or nurse about these problems.
? Changes in lifestyle: the choices you make every day about the food you eat and the way you live can have a big impact on your ABC and your overall health. Here are some things you can do to help keep your ABC under control or reduce your health risks:
• Choose healthy foods: Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Limit the amount of meat and fried or fatty foods you eat.
• Stay active: walk, work in the garden or do something active for 30 minutes or more most days of the week.
• Stop smoking: smoking increases the chance of you having a heart attack or stroke or developing cancer.
• Losing weight: being overweight increases the risk of many health problems.
• Avoid alcohol: alcohol can increase blood sugar and blood pressure.
Fortunately, many of the previous lifestyle changes can improve the 3 ABCs. For example, being active and losing weight can help control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Read the full article "The Abcs of Diabetes (The Basics)" that Dr. Hitesh Punyani wrote on Practo.com here: https://www.practo.com/healthfeed/the-abcs-of-diabetes-the-basics -9818 / post
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