Every part of our health is intertwined. Our blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol are interconnected, and an issue with one of those may lead to an issue with another.
For example, someone with diabetes is more likely to have hypertension (high blood pressure). They are also more likely to have high cholesterol leading to coronary artery disease (CAD) and other comorbidities (having two chronic diseases at once). This is why people with diabetes should know their ABCs.
What are the ABCs?
A – A1C
A1C is your estimated average blood glucose level over a three month time span. Unlike the normal blood glucose test, the A1C provides an in-depth look at your blood sugar levels.
- An A1C below 5.7% is normal
- An A1C between 5.7% to 6.4% is within the prediabetes range
- An A1C above 6.5% or higher is within the diabetes range
Lifestyle changes can improve blood glucose levels. Read a personal story here.
B – Blood Pressure
Two out of three people with diabetes have high blood pressure.1 When your heart beats, blood moves through your body providing blood and oxygen throughout. When someone has high blood pressure, blood vessels can become constricted, limiting the flow of blood and oxygen.
The general goal is for your blood pressure to be less than 120/80. However, if you have high blood pressure, your blood pressure goal may be different. For example, if your blood pressure is normally above 140/90, your goal may be to bring your numbers down to 130/80.
It is possible for someone with hypertension to bring their numbers down to less than 120/80.
C – Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally produced in the liver. It is also found in animal based products, and is needed to make hormones and is used for food digestion.
There are two types of cholesterol. LDL (low-density lipoproteins) is the bad cholesterol and HDL (high-density lipoproteins) is the good cholesterol. LDL increases the risk of heart disease and plaque buildup. HDL carries cholesterol to the liver so it can be removed from the body.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that can cause a blockage in an artery if LDL levels are high and HDL levels are low. A diet that increases HDL and lowers LDL can protect your heart health.
Make sure you know your numbers and make healthy choices to prevent and manage diabetes.
American Diabetes Association. (2020). Conquer High Blood Pressure. Retrieved from https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-risk/prevention/high-blood-pressure.
American Diabetes Association. (2017). HDL (Good), LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/hdl-good-ldl-bad-cholesterol-and-triglycerides.