The ABCs of type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, you’re at higher risk for heart disease and other complications. But there are steps you can take to reduce your risk—and understanding them is as easy as A-B-C.
A – Keep your A1C levels less than 7%
Taking control of your blood sugar level can help prevent health problems such as heart disease and nerve, eye, and kidney damage.
Your A1C level (your average blood sugar level for the past 2–3 months) should be less than 7%.
You should have an A1C test every 3 to 6 months.
You should continue to self-test your blood sugar levels regularly, such as before meals, 1–2 hours after meals, and at bedtime.
Take action to lower your blood sugar levels:
Eat less fat and more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods.
Spread out carbohydrates between meals and snacks.
Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Take any medications as directed.
Target A1C levels.
B – Keep blood pressure levels less than 130/80 mm Hg
Blood pressure is a measurement of how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your blood vessels. When it’s too high, you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Many things can increase the risk of high blood pressure, such as heredity and being overweight.
By taking control of your blood pressure, you’ll help prevent putting too much strain on your heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. If you have type 2 diabetes, keeping your blood pressure less than 130/80 mm Hg can help:
Stop your blood from pushing too hard against the vessel walls throughout your body.
Keep your heart from working too hard.
Reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Take action to lower your blood pressure:
Control your weight.
Follow a meal plan that’s low in salt and includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Take any blood pressure medicines as directed by your health professional.
Target blood pressure levels.
C – Keep cholesterol and blood fats (triglycerides) under control
Take control of the amount of blood fats (called triglycerides) and cholesterol in your blood to prevent clogging your arteries, which can lead to heart disease. You should be aware of three things with cholesterol and blood fats:
HDL cholesterol is often called “good cholesterol.”
LDL cholesterol is often called “bad cholesterol.”
Triglycerides are also known as blood fats