There is much you can do to help prevent heart disease and stroke. These tips can help:
- Keep your blood glucose under control. You can see if your blood glucose is under control by having an A1C blood test at least twice a year. The A1C test tells you your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. Your doctor can tell you your recommended A1C level.
- Keep your blood pressure under control. Have it checked at every doctor visit. The target for most people with diabetes is below 130/80.
- Keep your cholesterol under control. Have it checked at least once a year. Your doctor will tell you what your target numbers should be. You target may vary by age, overall health and risk factors.
- Make physical activity a part of your daily routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Check with your doctor to learn what activities are best for you. Take a half-hour walk every day. Or walk for 10 minutes after each meal. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the lot.
- Make sure the foods you eat are “heart healthy.” Include foods high in fiber, such as oat bran, oatmeal, whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables. Cut back on foods high in saturated fat or cholesterol, such as meats, butter, dairy products with fat, eggs, shortening, lard and foods made with palm oil or coconut oil. Limit foods with trans fat, such as snack foods and commercial baked goods.
- Lose weight if you need to. If you are overweight, try to exercise most days of the week. See a registered dietitian for help in planning meals and lowering the fat and calorie content of your diet to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- If you smoke, quit. Your doctor can tell you about ways to help you quit smoking.
- Ask your doctor whether you should take an aspirin every day. Studies have shown that taking a low dose of aspirin every day can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Take your prescribed medicines as directed.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services