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Do You Know Your Diabetes Numbers?

When it comes to diabetes, numbers count. By monitoring certain aspects of your health, you can stay in control of your diabetes and help prevent future problems. Here’s a guide to three numbers that everyone with diabetes should know.

1. A1c is a blood test that tells you how well your blood sugar is controlled. While a blood sugar test measures a moment in time, the A1c gives a big-picture view of your blood sugar control during the last two to three months, so you know if your treatment plan is working.
     The details: An A1c below 7 percent is a common goal. Your doctor may set your goal above or below this. Be sure to get tested at least twice a year.

2. Blood pressure is an indication of your blood vessel health. High blood pressure makes your heart work harderaises the risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease, so controlling your blood pressure is important.
     The details: A healthy blood pressure is 120/80 (“120 over 80”) or lower. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 is “early high blood pressure.” Get your blood pressure checked at every health care visit.

3.Cholesterol and triglyceride tests tell you if these blood fats are in the healthy range. Abnormal levels lead to fatty deposits in the arteries and increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.
     The details: Get tested every five years or as often as your doctor recommends. The American Diabetes Association says most people with diabetes should aim for these numbers:

  • LDL (“bad”) cholesterol: below 100 mg/dl
  • HDL (“good”) cholesterol: above 40 mg/dl for men and above 50 mg/dl for women
  • Triglycerides: below 150 mg/dl

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Sources

“A1C and eAG.” American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/a1c/.  

“High Blood Pressure.” American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/bloodpressure.html.

“All About Cholesterol.” American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/cholesterol.html.  

“Healthy ABCs.” American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/heart-disease/healthy-abcs.htm.  

“Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers.” National Diabetes Education Program, ndep.nih.gov/publications/PublicationDetail.aspx?PubId=17