If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, Type 1 or Type 2, you know how important numbers are. Your health comes down to just a few numbers that reveal how well your diabetes management plan is working and how healthy your body is functioning.
But remembering what these different numbers mean, and what qualifies as a healthy number, can be hard. Here’s a breakdown of the three most important numbers for diabetics to keep an eye on.
The A1c test provides a big picture look at your blood glucose levels over the last two or three months. It’s essentially your average blood glucose during that period of time. This gives you and your physician a measurement of how effective your current diabetes management plan is.
The goal A1c is below seven, and you should have your A1c tested at least twice a year. If your A1c is above seven, it may mean you and your physician need to make adjustments to medication, dosage, diet or activity level.
This number tells you if your heart is working too hard. With diabetes, you are already at a higher risk of developing heart problems. Your blood pressure can show whether you need to be concerned about heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or diabetes complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes have their blood pressure checked at every doctor’s appointment. A healthy goal for people with diabetes is 130 over 80. If your blood pressure is high, your doctor may recommend losing weight, changing your diet or exercising more often.
There are actually two kinds of cholesterol, one that’s “good” cholesterol and one that’s “bad” cholesterol. Your bad cholesterol, or LDL, should be less than 100 and your good cholesterol, or HDL, should be 40 or more. LDL can build up in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke, but HDL can help remove this buildup. Your cholesterol should be checked at least once a year.
Although these are generally good guidelines for people with diabetes to stay healthy, your individual circumstances may vary.
Talk to your doctor about what your numbers should be and how to make sure they stay in a healthy range.
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