Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. Over 37 million people in the United States have it, including children and adolescents.
In a nutshell, diabetes affects how your body converts food into energy. In a typical setting, the body uses insulin to use the sugar in the blood for energy. In a diabetic person, the body is either incapable of making insulin or using it properly. Because of this, the blood sugar isn’t getting converted into energy. Instead, it stays in the bloodstream, causing health complications.
Although there’s no cure for diabetes, it’s a manageable health condition. As long as you control the ABCs of diabetes, you can keep complications at bay.
A for A1C
A1C is short for hemoglobin A1C, a blood test measuring the average blood glucose in your blood over the past three months. It’s a great way to check your blood glucose level and keep it under control. Diabetic patients should take this test twice a year.
Test results are often shown as a percentage when taking an A1C test. The higher the number, the higher the level of blood sugar. If you have diabetes, aim for a number that doesn’t reach 7% or above.
B for blood pressure
Controlling your blood pressure is crucial when you have diabetes. The risk for heart-related issues doubles when blood pressure is high. High blood pressure makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Studies also show that high blood pressure plays a huge role in insulin resistance.
Doctors recommend that people with diabetes should get their blood pressure monitored regularly. The ideal goal is less than 130/80 mmHg, but you should still consult your doctor and work on more attainable goals.
C for cholesterol
Everyone has cholesterol, which is the waxy substance in our blood. LDL, the bad cholesterol, builds up and clogs the arteries. On the other hand, the good cholesterol called HDL helps remove the buildup of bad cholesterol. In diabetic people, HDL levels are abnormally low. It means the risk of heart attacks and strokes is higher.
Doctors strongly recommend that people with diabetes maintain a cholesterol level under 200 mg/dL. Get your cholesterol level tested annually and keep track of the following:
- HDL should be 40 mg/dL or higher
- Triglyceride level should be 150 mg/dL or lower
- LDL should be below 100 mg/dL
Additional diabetes control tips
To manage and control diabetes, you must know what makes your blood sugar rise or fall. Knowing what triggers diabetes symptoms can help you plan better. Here are some tips for a healthier life, even with diabetes.
- Check your blood sugar level regularly and keep a blood sugar log.
- Take the medicines your doctor prescribes for you, regardless of whether your blood sugar is within normal levels or not.
- Avoid injuries to your feet. Check for cuts, red or swollen areas, and bruises every day.
- Have your vision checked yearly or as often as you think necessary.
- Stay active and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Minimize your intake of salt, fat, and sugar.
- Drink lots of water and avoid beverages with high sugar content.
- Eat fiber-rich foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol.
Learn your ABCs
Every year, the American Diabetes Association prepares recommendations for helping diabetic patients and their caregivers manage and control diabetes. It can be a struggle to be fully on track with every detail since you must consider several factors, such as medication, testing, food, and lifestyle. The ABCs of diabetes aims to make the process simpler and easier to follow. With a little effort and awareness, you can still have a long and healthy life ahead of you.