In the Living With Type 2 Diabetes series, I’d like to begin with the ABCs of Diabetes.
Controlling these builds the foundation for managing this condition and if you have these in control, you give yourself the best chances of living a healthy life.
What are the ABCs of diabetes?
A – A1c – a test that measures your average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. Hemoglobin, a part of the red blood cell carries oxygen to the cells. Sometimes, it mingles with the glucose in the bloodstream. The A1c test shows the amount of glucose stuck to the red blood cells in proportion to the amount of glucose in the blood.
B – Blood Pressure – the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers—the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). The measurement is written one above or before the other, with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number on the bottom. For example, a blood pressure measurement of 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) is expressed verbally as “120 over 80.”
C – Cholesterol – a type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood; it is also found in some foods. Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and build cell walls.
When you manage these, you keep the complications of diabetes at bay. This means preventing heart disease and other related problems. Those with diabetes are likelier to suffer from a stroke or develop a heart complication than those without. So the mantra is – heart healthy living.
How? Let’s talk about getting your A1c under control.
Why Does A1c Matter for Living with Type 2 diabetes?
Since the A1c measures average blood glucose, keeping it under control reduces your risk for kidney, nerve, and eye disease, heart attacks and strokes. Your A1c target should be less than 7% and if it is more, just dropping one per cent can reduce your risk for kidney, eye and nerve disease by 40%.
If you are living with type 2 diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly to ensure your levels are in check. The hemoglobin A1c test is an indication of how well you have controlled your blood sugar. In case you see fluctuations, or have been advised a change in treatment, you may be asked to repeat this test every three months.
Aim for an A1c of around 7% or less. When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, my A1c was 11.5% and needless to say, I was shocked, because I lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, we cannot fight genetics and I am working hard at bringing it back under control.
A lower A1c means less risk of diabetes complications.
Here are just some ways to score an A in your hemoglobin A1c test
- Walk at least 30 minutes each day of the week. This lowers glucose which is used by your muscles. As you walk, your liver stocks up on glucose, decreasing your blood glucose. The more you exercise, the better.
- Count your carbohydrate consumption.
- Eat your meals at around the same time every day
- If you are on diabetes medication, take it at the same time every day for best results.
- Manage your stress
Living with type 2 diabetes and managing it involves a daily, consistent effort through a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise.
I am glad to say three random blood tests and a fasting and post-prandial test all showed “normal” readings. Yes, a healthy lifestyle pays off big time.
Please stay tuned for the next post – tomorrow.
Today is Day 1 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
My Theme: Living With Type 2 Diabetes
A is for the ABCs of Diabetes
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