By Annette Pinder

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), individuals who want to manage their diabetes need to know their ABCs. Your ABCs will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.

  • A is for the A1C Test. An A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. The A1C goal is typically below 7 percent.
  • B is for Blood Pressure. The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm Hg.
  • C is for Cholesterol. There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. Too much bad cholesterol can cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels. If you are over 40 years of age, you may need to take a statin drug for heart health.
  • S is for Stop Smoking. Not smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels, causing your heart to work harder. Quitting smoking will lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, nerve and disease, diabetic eye disease, and amputation. Quitting smoking may also improve your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It will also improve your blood circulation and make it easier for you to be physically active.

The NIDDK also emphasizing the importance of adopting healthy habits and taking medications that are prescribed for you.

  • Develop a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team to help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Choose fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken, or turkey without the skin, fish, lean meats, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose unprocessed foods lower in calories, saturated fattrans fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Make physical activity part of your daily routine by setting a goal to be more physically active. Try working up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity most days of the week. Brisk walking and swimming are good ways to move more. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.
  • Take your medicines for diabetes and any other health problems, even when you feel good or have reached your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol goals. These medicines help you manage your ABCs.

To learn more about managing prediabetes and diabetes, watch an important program on Wednesday, November 17 at 8 pm or Saturday, November 20 at noon on WBBZ-TV Channel 5 or 67, featuring General Physician PC practitioners Richard Charles, MD, Chief Medical Officer; Kelly Cardamone, MS, RDN, CDCES, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist; and Samantha Will, Pharm.D., BCACP, Clinical Pharmacist.