Monday, October 20, 2008

Notes From Diabetes Class - Know Your ABC's

During the diabetic follow-up class Dad and I attended last week, I took a few notes and thought I would share some of the information in this post.

Only 7% of all U.S. diabetics know their ABC's and have them in order. Here is what you should know to get your ABC's in order.

A = keep the A1C test at or below 7%. There is a test called the A1C, which is short for hemoglobin A-1-C. It is a fasting blood test that measures your average glucose level over the prior three months and is often used to determine whether someone is a diabetic or prediabetic. Dad has this test every three months, prior to his routine visit with his primary physician.

The 7% or below indicates the goal that most diabetics should strive to maintain. As for Dad, MJ told him to not go much lower than the 6.9 that he is presently at due to his age and because he has been a diabetic for twenty-five years. Going much lower would compromise his health. Remember, every individual is different. Work with your primary care physician or diabetic nurse educator for your particular numbers.

B = Blood Pressure. For most diabetics, their systolic blood pressure should be no higher than 130 and their diastolic, no lower than 80, i.e. their perfect blood pressure reading would show 130/80. Obviously, you need to contact your physician for your optimum blood pressure. Every individual is different and these numbers are only guidelines.

C = Cholesterol. Here are the ideal ranges to aim for:

Cholesterol = 200 or below
HDL = 100 for men, 70 for women
LDL = 40 for men, 50 for women
Triglycerides = 150

According to the American Diabetes Association, "Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage vital organs such as your kidneys and your eyes. High blood pressure is a serious disease that makes your heart work too hard. And bad cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your heart arteries. Managing all three means a longer and healthier life."

Click on the title of this post for an informative two page pdf giving further information about the ABC's.

Wow! That was just the start of the notes I kept in a small memo pad. I will share more in a later post.

The thing is - we can live much healthier lives than we do when we have the proper information. We hear about living a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it takes numbers to truly wake us up to the fact that we need to make changes in our health regimen.

How about you - are you living a healthy lifestyle? Are there changes you should make? Does having the numbers in front of you help motivate you to make changes?

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