Did you know that two out of three people with diabetes actually die from heart disease or stroke? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to lower that risk. Studies show that people with diabetes can lower their risk of heart problems by following the ABCs of diabetes.
A: A1C test
The A1C test shows what your blood glucose has been over the last three months. The A1C goal for many people is below 7. High blood glucose levels can harm your heart and blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.
B: blood pressure
The goal for most people is 130/80. High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard. It can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.
The LDL goal for most people is less than 100. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that can build up and clog your blood vessels, causing heart attack or stroke. The HDL goal for most people is above 40. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that helps remove cholesterol from your blood vessels.
February is American Heart Month. If you have diabetes, take action now to reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke. Ask your doctor how you can lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
In addition to the ABC list, people with diabetes can lower their risk of cardiovascular disease by:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- engaging in regular exercise
- maintaining a healthy diet:
- foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
- lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts (in small amounts), fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- fiber — whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dry peas and beans
- not smoking — smoking is one of the major risk factors associated with heart attack and stroke
- taking medications as directed — and ask your doctor about taking daily aspirin
- asking family and friends to support you in your goals
If someone you love has diabetes, take the time to learn more and ask what you can do to help.
Infographic courtesy of the NDEP, a federally funded program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The NDEP includes over 200 partners at the federal, state, and local levels working together to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes by changing the way diabetes is treated.
For more information about diabetes, visit: NDEP