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The ABC’s + of Diabetes

Jun 10, 2004
 

By Judy Kohn, RN, CDE

A is for A1C: This is the test that measures your average blood glucose over the past 3 months.

 

ADA suggested target: below 7.

How often should you have your A1C tested? At least twice a year

 

  • A is also for aspirin: Taking low-dose aspirin every day can help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Children and young adults with no history of heart disease should not take aspirin without a doctor’s order, nor should some older adults. Check with your doctor before starting daily aspirin. For more information on aspirin therapy for people with diabetes, click here.

    B is for blood pressure/microalbumin: High blood pressure (BP) makes your heart work too hard and can cause damage to your kidneys and eyes. Microalbumin is an indicator of kidney complications (nephropathy). Reducing or eliminating microalbumin is a goal of blood pressure therapy.

    • Suggested target from the ADA: BP below 130/80.
    • How often should you have your BP tested?
      This is individual and should be determined with the help of your diabetes team.
    • Suggested target for microalbumin: below 30 mg/24 hours.
    • How often should you have your microalbumin tested? At least yearly.
    • Suggested resources:

    C is for cholesterol: The “bad” cholesterol, LDL, builds up and clogs your arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes.

    • Suggested target from the ADA: Below 100
    • How often should you have your cholesterol level tested? At least once a year.

    D is for diabetes education: Help your doctor help you. The more you know about how food, exercise, and medications affect your diabetes control, the better you and your doctor can work together to make any needed changes.

    E is for eye examination: Regular eye exams can spot diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) early enough to preserve vision and prevent blindness. Keeping both your blood pressure and your blood glucose in control can greatly reduce the risk of eye complications.

    • How often should you have your eyes tested? At least once a year
    • For more information on eye care and retinopathy, click here.

    F is for foot care: Keep an eye on your feet. If you have nerve disease and can’t feel your feet, your feet can’t tell you when something is wrong.

    • How often should you have your feet checked? Check your feet daily. Remind your doctor to check them at every visit (take your shoes/socks off as soon as you enter the examining room). Get an extensive foot exam once a year.

    G is for glucose monitoring: If you know when your blood glucose is too high or too low, you’ll know better how to treat it, achieve good control, and prevent complications. In other words, you can’t manage what you don’t monitor.

    • How often should you test your blood glucose level?
      This is individual and should be determined with the help of your diabetes team.
    • Suggested goal:
      This is individual and should be determined with the help of your diabetes team.

    H is for health maintenance: When you have diabetes, getting the flu or pneumonia can lead to serious complications. Avoid them by getting vaccinated.

    I is for identifying special medical needs: Complications are complicated. As they occur, your doctor may need to send you to various specialists for such conditions as eye disease, hypertension, kidney disease, foot care, or cardiac evaluation. Voicing your health concerns at every visit can help your doctor spot trouble and get any extra help you need quickly. For more information on coping with complications, click here.

    *President’s Proclamation: National Diabetes Month, 2003
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/10/20031031-6.htm

     

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