February 1, 2023

Know Your Diabetes ABCs | US MED

Learning essential diabetes management steps can make managing this disease far simpler. Learn the ABCs of diabetes with US MED.


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Home / Living with Diabetes / Know Your Diabetes ABCs | US MED

As just about anyone with diabetes knows, living with this condition is far from easy. That said, learning about some essential diabetes management steps can make managing this disease far simpler than it would be otherwise. That includes knowing about the ABCs of diabetes. 

 Whether you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes, knowing about your diabetes ABCs is a highly effective way to control diabetes. At the same time, it can help you lower your risk of stroke, heart attack, and other diabetes complications. That said, most people have never heard of the ABC of diabetes – even if they have this condition. Check out US MED’s quick look at how to manage your diabetes ABCs. 

What are the ABCs of diabetes? 

Before you can put together a strategy to keep your diabetes ABCs under control, you’ll need to know what these factors actually are. The ABCs of diabetes include the following: 

A (A1C test) 

Routine blood glucose testing is crucial in diabetes management, but it can’t replace your need for A1C testing. That test measures your average blood sugar level over the course of three months. 

B (Blood pressure) 

People dealing with diabetes have a doubled risk of high blood pressure compared to the general population. Elevated blood pressure can lead to things like stroke, heart attack, and eye/kidney damage. (To track your blood pressure on an everyday basis, consider using a blood pressure monitor.) 

C (Cholesterol) 

Not all cholesterol is created equal, but LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol can impact your overall health – especially if you also have diabetes. Since LDL can clog your arteries, it can heighten your risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

S (Stop smoking – or don’t start) 

While this isn’t included in every version of the diabetes ABCs, smoking can severely impact your cardiovascular and lung health. Because of that, cutting out cigarettes (or avoiding them entirely, if possible) can go a long way toward keeping you healthy for decades to come. 

Why are my ABCs so important? 

Whether you have a diabetes diagnosis or not, taking your blood pressure, cholesterol, and tobacco use seriously is wise. Meanwhile, A1C testing is a more diabetes-specific factor. Still, it isn’t something you can afford to ignore if you have this disease. By keeping track of your ABCs and taking steps to control them, you can have a significant positive impact on your overall health. 

How can I control my ABCs? 

Now that you know what the diabetes ABCs are and what makes them so crucial, it’s time to learn how you can keep these factors under control: 

A1C test 

If you’re like most people with diabetes, your doctor will recommend A1C testing at least twice a year. Most people living with this condition aim for A1C levels below 7 percent – each percentage point over that value comes with a doubled risk of complications. 

On the other hand, getting your A1C level under the 7-percent threshold (even by just a bit) can significantly lower your diabetes complication risk. Between A1C tests, be sure to regularly check your blood glucose levels and make adjustments if your readings aren’t in range. 

A1C Test - US MED Article

Blood pressure 

Whenever you have any sort of medical appointment, there’s a good chance that you’ll get a blood pressure check. Your doctor will let you know what blood pressure goal you should work towards. Blood pressure targets are now suggested for each individual patient based on your heart disease risk.

Cholesterol 

If you have diabetes, it’s a good idea to have your triglycerides, LDL, and HDL (or “good”) cholesterol tested annually. Cholesterol goals for the general population are as follows: 

  • Triglycerides: Under 150 mg/dl 
  • LDL cholesterol: Under 100 mg/dl 
  • HDL cholesterol (for men): Over 40 mg/dl 
  • HDL cholesterol (for women): Over 50 mg/dl 

However, your cholesterol goals may vary depending on your personal situation. Talk to your healthcare team to ensure you’re aiming for the correct cholesterol numbers. 

Smoking 

If you don’t already smoke, you’re in luck: simply continue to avoid cigarettes and cigars. People with diabetes who smoke should discuss quitting strategies with their healthcare providers. 

Improve your diabetes management with the right supplies 

When you have diabetes, knowing what are the ABC’s of diabetes and keeping your ABCs under control are huge parts of staying healthy. By maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, lowering your blood pressure, meeting your cholesterol goals, and avoiding tobacco, you’ll make your efforts to treat diabetes as effective as possible. 

While going through steps to improve your health and manage your diabetes ABCs, taking another look at your diabetes supply strategy is a good idea. Since you depend on items like continuous glucose monitors, diabetes testing supplies, and insulin pumps to get through the day, it’s essential to ensure these products come from a trusted supplier. You can’t go wrong with US MED, AKA the nation’s most reliable company for diabetes supplies! 

Frequently asked questions 

What is the ABC of diabetes? 

The “ABCs of diabetes” is an acronym that covers three essential health goals for people with diabetes: good A1C levels, low blood pressure, and healthy cholesterol levels. Some versions of the acronym add a fourth element: avoiding or quitting smoking. 

What does A1C mean in diabetes? 

An A1C test is a form of blood test commonly done in people with diabetes. Unlike “regular” blood sugar testing, this test looks at the sugar that has been sticking to red blood cells over the past 3 months on average.  

What does the C stand for in the ABCs of diabetes management? 

The C in the ABCs of diabetes stands for “cholesterol.” More specifically, this part of the diabetes ABCs involves testing your cholesterol levels at least once a year and taking steps to meet your personal cholesterol goals. 

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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