ABC....SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

by: Diane Black, MS, RD, CDE

ABCs Management Image

When discussing the ABC’s of Diabetes Management and controlling diabetes it is important to understand that the A stands for the A1C. This is the blood test that measures your average blood sugar over a period of two to three months. The goal range should be discussed with your healthcare provider. An A1C of below 7% should be your goal to help lower your risk of developing complications from nerve, eye or kidney damage. Remember that an A1C of 7% is equal to estimated average blood glucose of 154mg/dl. 

Dr. Edelman, a diabetes specialist, has mentioned the B in the ABC’s of Diabetes. The B stands for blood pressure. A blood pressure less than 130/80 with or without medications is recommended for helping to prevent cardiovascular disease. If placed on medication to help with blood pressure control, it is crucial that the medication “only” be stopped or changed by your healthcare provider. Stopping your blood pressure medication suddenly could cause your blood pressure to shoot up and possibly result in a stroke.

The C in the ABC’s of Diabetes Management stands for Cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced naturally by the liver. Total cholesterol should be less than 200mg/dl. LDL cholesterol, often thought of as the “bad” cholesterol, should be less than 100mg/dl unless your healthcare provider suggests that it be even lower. HDLcholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, should be greater than 40mg/dl for men and greater than 50mg/dl for women. HDL has a “protective effect” on the heart. If your cholesterol levels are out of the recommended range, some lifestyle changes may help. Eating a healthy diet including diabetic recipes and a variety of low fat and whole grain foods, losing weight, and engaging in regular physical activity can help lower your LDL cholesterol level. If your HDL level is too low, engaging in regular exercise, weight loss, not smoking, reducing your intake of trans fatty acids and limiting your alcohol intake are all ways to help raise your HDL level. Adding soluble fiber to your diet and eating foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel can help in lowering your LDL cholesterol and raising your HDL cholesterol.

Sometimes lifestyle changes alone aren’t successful in keeping your cholesterol levels within recommended ranges. Prescription medications may need to be added to your treatment plan.


REFERENCES:

  1. Nichols GA et al., The American Journal of Cardiology, 10/24/2011
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trans-fat/CL00032 
  3. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2008/pr041-08.shtml