What are the ABCs of Diabetes Management?
Diabetes is a hormonal disease that affects blood sugar levels. In your body, there is a hormone called insulin that helps control your blood sugar levels. Diabetes happens when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it properly. If your blood sugar levels are too high over a prolonged period, it increases your chances of having a stroke or a heart attack and damages your kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
To learn more about the types of Diabetes and its management visit our Endocrinology page.
Diabetes is a serious condition, but it can be managed. Talk to our healthcare team about your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol, the A, B, and C of Diabetes management.
Understanding A1C (A-one-C).
The A1C blood test measures the average blood sugar levels for the past three months by calculating the percentage of hemoglobin (a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen) coated with glucose molecules.
What is the optimum A1C level?
The target A1C levels vary based on your age, health, and other risk factors. The test results are measured as a percentage and the standard A1C goal in most cases is below 7%.
- In Normal blood sugar, A1C levels are below 5.7%
- Prediabetes (high blood glucose levels) is when your A1C level is between 5.7 and 6.5%
- Diabetes means you have an A1C level of 6.5% or higher.
Importance of A1C
It gives you an idea of your blood sugar levels over time. It also helps monitor the success of your diabetes management plan. The higher the levels, the more your chances of damaging your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
Get your A1C levels checked every three to six months!
Understanding Blood Pressure and Diabetes.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the wall of your blood vessels. It is measured as a set of 2 numbers, like 120/80. The first/top number is the ‘systolic blood pressure’ (the force exerted as your heart beats and pumps blood through your blood vessels), and the second/bottom number is the ‘diastolic blood pressure’ (the pressure when blood vessels relax between heartbeats).
What is the optimum blood pressure?
Under normal circumstances:
- Healthy blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg or lower
- Early high blood pressure ranges from 120/80 to 140/80 mmHg
- A blood pressure of 140/90 or higher mmHg is called Hypertension
The American Diabetes Association states that the blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mmHg.
Importance of blood pressure
High blood pressure is a silent problem, and you will not get to know it unless you ask your healthcare provider to check your levels. Your heart works harder when you have high blood pressure, increasing your risk of developing diabetes-related health concerns, such as nerve damage, vision problems, and kidney damage. It also elevates your risk of having a heart attack and stroke.
Get your blood pressure checked at least 4 times a year if you have diabetes!
Understanding Cholesterol and its role in Diabetes
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in every cell in your body. It’s a necessary ingredient to produce hormones and vitamins and to help your body digest fat.
There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins).
- HDL (high-density lipoproteins) or “good” cholesterol- It helps protect your blood vessels and heart by removing the bad cholesterol.
- LDL (low-density lipoproteins) or “bad” cholesterol- It can build up and clog your blood vessels making them hard and narrow which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Triglycerides are a type of fat stored in the body. When you have food, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need right away into triglycerides which are put away in the fat cells of your body. Your body then releases triglycerides to provide energy in between meals.
What is the optimum HDL & LDL level?
According to the American Diabetes Association, most people with diabetes should aim for:
- HDL cholesterol: Higher than 50 mg/dl
- LDL cholesterol: Lower than 100 mg/dl
- Triglycerides: Lower than 150 mg/dl
Importance of HDL & LDL levels
Diabetes and high cholesterol levels (low HDL levels along with high LDL levels and triglycerides) put you at risk of having a stroke or a heart attack in the future.
Get your cholesterol levels checked every six months!
What Can I Do?
You need to be diligent about tracking your symptoms and making healthy choices in order to live full lives. If you remember to keep up with the basics—such as checking your blood sugar levels and taking medication when prescribed—you can avoid some of the more serious conditions that come with diabetes.
Have concerns about diabetes? Call us on 1-347-384-5690 to get answers to your queries or pay us a visit at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212. And if you have diabetes or have its symptoms, come to us for diagnosis and treatment, we have the best endocrinologists and diabetes specialists to help you throughout the process.