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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.

The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.

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 PDF iconthis booklet (PDF, 3 MB).​​​

Helpful Resources

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.


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