The American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology teamed up in 2011 to raise awareness of diabetes. Together, they created the ABCs of Diabetes to make it easy for you to remember the key numbers you should be watching to know your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Mark Boyd, Family Medicine, St. Elizabeth Physicians Covington Primary Care, Covington, KY, believes you should not only monitor the ABCs of diabetes, but he adds the D and E as well.
A is for A1C
A1C is the average of your blood sugar over a three-month period. The test measures the average blood sugar on your red blood cells, which need sugar. Those red blood cells last about 120 days. That is why we look at a three-month period. Getting tested regularly allows your doctor to monitor your levels month to month and year to year. An A1C test can also be used to monitor your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Your average A1C level should be under 7 percent. Lowering your A1C level just 1 percent can lower your risk for complications, such as heart attack and stroke, from 35 percent to 18 percent.
B is for Blood Pressure
We look at diabetes not just as a disease of glucose or blood sugar, it is also can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Your blood pressure goals should be 140/80. You should be tested at every appointment or at least every three months.
C is for Cholesterol
The most important measurement in your cholesterol test is the “bad” cholesterol or the low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Statin medicines can help control the level of LDL, which will lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The goal for diabetics is to keep the LDL level at under 100.
Don’t Forget D and E – Diet and Exercise
Dr. Boyd feels the D and E are just as important as the numbers you need to monitor if you have diabetes. D is for diet/weight management and E is for exercise.
“Being active and maintaining a healthy weight and diet plan is essential to managing your diabetes and your overall health,” Dr. Boyd says. “I know some people don’t like the E word, but it is really about activity—whether it be gardening or working around the house. You just can’t sit still.”
This month, National Diabetes Awareness Month, is a good reminder to check to see if you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes by taking the American Diabetes Association risk assessment. If you are at high risk, contact your primary care physician or an Endocrinologist at St. Elizabeth Physicians at (859) 655-8910. If you need help finding a primary care physician, please call (800) 737-7900.