Managing your diabetes is not always easy and, at times, can even be stressful.
While your physician sets up the treatment plan, it is up to you to make important decisions about managing your diabetes such as diet, exercise and medications. There is much to learn and new skills to develop — it’s almost like learning to live your life all over again. The elements of care can be remembered using the “ABCs of Diabetes,” the recommended elements of good self-management.
The letter “A” stands for the hemoglobin A1c (A1C) blood test and reminds patients and their doctors of the importance of blood glucose control in preventing the complications of diabetes. Each 1 percent decrease in A1C translates into a 35–40 percent decrease in the frequency of microvascular complications.
The A1C blood test provides a measure of a patient’s average glucose control over the previous two to three months. Control is best determined by the combination of the patient’s self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) results and current A1C result.
Everyone with diabetes should have their A1C tested at least two times a year. Patients whose therapy has changed or who are not meeting good blood sugar goals may need their A1C tested every two to three months. For each individual, the frequency of A1C testing will depend on their own situation, the treatment regimen used, and the judgment of their physician.
Blood sugars should be managed to achieve normal or near-normal glucose levels with an A1C goal of less than 7 percent. Less intense treatment goals may be appropriate for patients with a history of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), patients with limited life expectancies, very young children or older adults and individuals with other health conditions.
The letter “B” reminds patients and providers of the importance of blood pressure control in preventing macrovascular and microvascular complications. Blood pressure should be measured at every routine diabetes visit. Patients found to have systolic blood pressure greater than 130 or diastolic blood pressure 80 or more should have their blood pressure rechecked on a separate day to establish a diagnosis of hypertension.
The letter “C” reminds the patient of the important role of cholesterol management in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke. In adult patients, test for lipid disorders at least annually and more often if needed to achieve goals. The goal is to have LDL cholesterol 100 mg/dl or less as the primary goal of therapy for adults. Triglycerides should be to 150 mg/dl or less and our “good” cholesterol HDL 40 mg/dl or more in men and 50mg/dl or more in women.
On June 28, the Clark County Diabetes Support Group will host Drew Rainwater, an A1C Champion who will share his life experience of how he has learned to control his diabetes and become an A1C Champion.
He will share how to effectively manage your diabetes using the ABCs of diabetes. We will meet at the Cooperative Extension office, 1400 Fortune Drive at 6:30 p.m. and everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be provided by the Clark County Diabetes Coalition.
Please call the Clark County Health Department at 749-4769 to reserve your place or email Carol at CarolR.Hisle@ky.gov.