Do you know your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels? Here’s why you should—and how they affect heart disease risk.
Everyone with diabetes should know their ABCs, says the American Diabetes Association (ADA)—that is, your test results from your last A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol checks. They can help your doctor monitor your present and future heart disease risk. Here’s your at-a-glance guide:
A is for A1C test:
Measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.
Target for most people with diabetes: Below 7%
A1C goal should be as close to normal (<6%) as possible without causing low blood glucose (hypoglycemia).
B is for blood pressure:
Measures how forcefully blood is moving inside blood vessels. High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard.
ADA target for people with diabetes: Below 130/80 mmHg
C is for cholesterol:
Measures the levels of certain fats in your blood. When too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can clog arteries. High levels of HDL (good) cholesterol seem to protect against heart attack. People with high triglycerides often also have a high total cholesterol level, including a high LDL (bad) level and a low HDL (good) level.
Targets for most people with diabetes:
LDL: Below 100 mg/dl
HDL for men: Above 40 mg/dl
HDL for women: Above 50 mg/dl
Triglycerides: Below 150 mg/dl