Saturday, June 18, 2011

ABCs of Heart Disease

Keeping your ABCs in check can also help you lower your risk for heart disease and stoke. The ABCs are an easy way to remember some of the most important health issues related to diabetes. As a man with diabetes, it's important to stay informed about related health complications, take a look at the ABCs, and speak with your healthcare provider to see if these issues are affecting you.

A is for A1C

Your A1C reflects your average blood glucose level for the two to three month period before the test. Your healthcare provider uses it to determine how well you are managing your blood sugar. A goal of less than 7 percent is desirable, which corresponds to an average blood glucose level of 150 mg/dL.

B is blood pressure

Men with diabetes should aim for a blood pressure level below 130/80 mm Hg. You should monitor blood pressure at each routine diabetes visit.

C is for cholesterol (lipids)

A complete cholesterol test, referred to as a lipid panel or lipid profile, includes the measurement of four types of fats (lipids) in your blood, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides. LDL is sometimes called the "bad"cholesterol. Too much of it in your blood causes the accumulation of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries (atherosclerosis), which reduces blood flow. HDL is sometimes called the "good"cholesterol because it helps carry away LDL cholesterol, thus keeping arteries open and blood flowing more freely. Total cholesterol is the sum of your blood's cholesterol content. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells and released later for energy.

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