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Know your ABCs of Diabetes

Posted on November 13, 2017 | No Comments on Know your ABCs of Diabetes

If someone asks you to rate your familiarity with ABCs from one to 10, you will probably say 10. However, this does not pertain to the typical alphabet you learned in pre-school. Knowing this set of ABCs is even more beneficial and could actually save the lives of most diabetics. The ABCs of diabetes refer to hemoglobin A1C, Blood pressure and Cholesterol.

The Al C is the measurement of an individual’s average blood glucose (sugar) over the last three months. International diabetes guidelines suggest that it is very important to maintain A1 C within the normal limits, which is less than 6.5 percent. Even a one percent decrease in the Al C reflects a significant change in the average blood sugar, and a considerable decrease in diabetes complications, while an increase in the A1 C means an increase in the risk for complications of diabetes.

Moreover, high blood pressure makes the heart work too hard. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that the target blood pressure level among diabetics should be less than 130/80 mmHg. For people with diabetes, good blood pressure control can translate to a significant reduction in cardiovascular complications like heart attack and stroke. Blood pressurelowering drugs such as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) can help improve blood pressure levels while also providing kidney protection.

Cholesterol should also be maintained at optimal levels. Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” which blocks the arteries should be lowered to less than 100 mg/dL. Aiming for an LDL less than 70 mg/dL is an option for diabetic patients with overt heart disease. Triglycerides (another type of fat in the blood) should be less than 150 mg/dL. The High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or the “good cholesterol” should be increased to more than 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women. Statins can be used to lower LDL while fibrates are potent in decreasing triglycerides and increasing HDL.

People who have diabetes or those who are at risk need to know and seek help to maintain their levels of AB & C. Adherence to the ABCs of diabetes can help patients prevent or reduce the serious consequences of the disease such as heart attack, stroke, limb amputations, kidney disease and blindness. Following a healthy lifestyle effectively helps in managing the ABCs of diabetes. This includes eating the right proportion of healthy foods (fruits and vegetables), trimming down salt and fat intake, increasing physical activity from 30 to 60 minutes daily, smoking cessation and maintaining a healthy weight.

It is similarly important to seek advice from health care providers. Patients need to consult their physicians before taking any medication:They should also ask for tips on proper foot and eye care, and must learn to monitor their blood sugar level. A complete dental exam twice a year is also required. Patients can also consult nutritionists to create a diabetes food plan.

Lastly, patients have to learn and create a plan on dealing with their condition.This will help them fight any frustration that their disease might cause. Diabetes may be a killer disease. But with proper knowledge, the right attitude and vigilance, this condition can be easily prevented.

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