Diabetes can sometimes feel like an overwhelming disease to manage. There are a lot of things for you to track — from your most recent blood sugar reading and how many carbs you’ve eaten to when you last took your medication and how much insulin you need. There are also longer-term measurements and complications to consider.
Here are three basics every diabetic should know:
A is for A1C. This blood test looks at your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. Doctors use this test to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. It is also used with patients who have diabetes to see how well their blood sugar has been controlled over the past three months. An A1C below 5.7 is normal. Patients with an A1C of 5.7 to 6.4 are considered prediabetic. An A1C of 6.5 or above indicates diabetes. The goal for diabetics is to keep their A1C under 7.
B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common complication for diabetics. That’s because diabetes can damage your arteries. The American Diabetes Association reports that two out of three diabetics either have high blood pressure or take medication to lower their blood pressure. Regular blood pressure checks are essential for diabetics.
C is for cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, diabetes can lower your “good” cholesterol and raise your “bad” cholesterol. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular blood tests can determine if your cholesterol levels are outside the normal range.
If your A1C, blood pressure, or cholesterol should get too high, talk to your doctor about medications and lifestyle changes that can help you get the problem under control. Your local pharmacist can also be a helpful resource for diabetes management.