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Step 2: Know Your Diabetes ABCs. (A1C, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol)

Talk to your health care team about how to manage your A1C (blood glucose or sugar), Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. This will help lower your chances of having a heart attack, a stroke, or other diabetes problems. Here’s what the ABCs of diabetes stand for:

A for the A1C test

The A1C Test shows you what your blood glucose has been over the last three months. The A1C goal for many people is below 7. High blood glucose levels can harm your heart and blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.

B for Blood pressure.

Your blood pressure goal should be below 140/80 unless your doctor helps you set a different goal.

High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard. It can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

C for Cholesterol.

Ask what your cholesterol numbers should be.

LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. It can cause a heart attack or a stroke. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from your blood vessels.

Actions you could take:

  • Ask your health care team:
    • What your A1C, blood pressure, and Cholesterol numbers are
    • What should your ABC numbers should be
    • What you can do to reach your targets
  • Write down all your numbers on the record card at the back of this booklet.

Publications

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Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers

(NDEP-10)

Learn more about the importance of knowing your blood sugar numbers. This publication contains information on the A1C test, self-monitoring blood glucose, and working with a health care team to set blood glucose targets and reach them.

Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes (in English)

Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes (in English)

(NDEP-52EN)

This patient education sheet explains the link between diabetes and heart disease. It encourages patients to work with their health care team to set targets and manage their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It includes a record form to track target numbers.

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Resources

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National Diabetes Education Program: An Overview

National Diabetes Education Program: An Overview

Learn more about the National Diabetes Education Program's initiatives, goals and partnership network.

Diabetes Snapshot

Diabetes Snapshot

Print ad about the facts about diabetes: A leading cause of death in the U.S.

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