The ABCs of Diabetes (Heart Health)
Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. About 65 percent of people who have diabetes die of some type of cardiovascular disease. The type of diabetes that most commonly develops in adulthood is type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin but the body cannot use it properly and gradually loses the ability to produce it.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease. In addition to increasing the risk for heart disease, it is the number one cause of kidney failure, blindness, and lower limb amputation in adults. Diabetes can also lead to nerve damage and difficulties in fighting infection.
If you have diabetes, three key steps can help you lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Follow these “ABCs”:
A is for A1C test, which is short for hemoglobin A1C. This test measures your average blood glucose (blood sugar) over the last three 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. “Bad” cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your arteries. Get your LDL cholesterol tested at least once a year. Number to aim for: Below 100 mg/dL.
These tests can help you manage your diabetes and lower your risk of developing heart disease. Next time you see your doctor ask about your ABCs!