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Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes

Download Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes pdf document (309k) handout.

Some people have prediabetes, which is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not in the diabetes range. People with this condition can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by losing a small amount of weight and increasing their physical activity. If you have diabetes, controlling your blood glucose levels will help prevent complications.

The ABCs of Diabetes

If you have diabetes, three key steps can help you lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Follow these ABCs:

  • A is for the A1C test, which is short for hemoglobin A1C. This test measures your average blood glucose over the past 3 months. It lets you know if your blood glucose level is under control. Get this test at least twice a year.
  • Number to aim for: below 7
  • B is for blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart has to work. Get your blood pressure measured at every doctor's visit.
  • Numbers to aim for: below 130/80 mmHg
  • C is for cholesterol. Maintain a normal cholesterol level. “Bad” cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your arteries. Get your LDL cholesterol tested at least once a year.
  • Number to aim for: below 100 mg/dL

Be sure to ask your doctor:

  • What are my ABC numbers?
  • What should my ABC target numbers be?
  • What actions should I take to reach my ABC target numbers?

Write the changes you will make this week to control your blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol.

Read the “Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes” handout in Tagalog.

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Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Healthy Heart, Healthy Family: A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.

Last Updated March 2012

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