The ABCs of diabetes management

The ABCs of diabetes management teaser
If you have diabetes, it's important you undertake measures to control it and avoid complications such as nerve and blood vessel damage or increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The ABCs of diabetes care outline the areas where you should aim to meet specific targets in order to remain on top of diabetes. 

 
A – A1c
 
Your Haemoglobin A1c or A1c for short is a blood test that shows what your average blood glucose levels has been over the last 2-3months. A general target for those with type 2 diabetes is less than 7% or 53mmol/mol, however discuss this with your health care professional to obtain an individual target. Keeping your A1c at a “safe” level prevents high blood glucose levels which can cause damage to your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and feet.
 
 Aim to have your HbA1c checked at least twice per year. Small changes in your HbA1c can make a significant difference to your risk of developing diabetes-related complications – for example lowering your HbA1c by 1% can reduce your risk for all complications by 30-35% and cut your risk of heart attack by 18%. Each percent above 7% doubles your risk of diabetes related complications.
 
B – Blood Pressure
 
High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to circulate the blood and can lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney damage. For a person with high blood pressure and diabetes the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles. The general blood pressure target for people with type 2 diabetes is <130/80mmHg, however your individual target may be different. Ask your health professional to check your blood pressure at each visit and remember to take your blood pressure medication if required.
 
C – Cholesterol
 
Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to the build up of plaque in the walls of your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. There are many types of cholesterol, commonly we are interested in our total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides, and we should have these levels tested at least once per year.
 
HDL (High-density lipoprotein) helps to keep our arteries healthy by removing cholesterol from the blood vessels. A general aim for HDL is >1mmol/l. High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides causes a build up of plaque in the arteries, leading to heart attack or stroke. Aim for LDL <2mmol/l and Triglycerides <2mmol/l. Aim for a Total Cholesterol level of <4mmol/l.
 
360 offer a wide range of diabetes prevention and management programs led by qualified Diabetes Educators. Call 1800 719 619 to make an appointment to talk to one of our Diabetes Educators, or see your GP about ways to manage your ABCS to reduce your risk of complications and reach your individual targets.
 
Shona Garlick
Diabetes Educator
360 Health + Community

Reference
RACGP Guideline for Diabetes Management 2014-2015
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