Taking care of your diabetes and the conditions that come with it can help you lower your chances of heart and blood vessel disease. Every step you take to keep your ABCS (A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol) in your target range and quitting smoking, will help lower your risk of heart disease or a stroke.
- A is for A1C. The A1C test gives you a picture of your average blood glucose (blood sugar) control for the past two to three months but is different from the blood sugar checks you do each day. The results give you a good idea of how well your diabetes treatment plan is working. Having too high levels of blood sugar over time can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes. Ask your health care provider what your goal should be.
- B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure, often called the silent killer, won’t go away without treatment. That could include lifestyle changes and, if your doctor deems necessary, medicine. Ask your health care provider what your blood pressure goal should be.
- C is for cholesterol. Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL cholesterol, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL cholesterol, can clog your arteries. High triglycerides raise your risk for a heart attack or a stroke. Ask your health care provider what your cholesterol numbers should be.
- S is for stop smoking. Not smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Blood vessel narrowing makes your heart work harder. E-cigarettes aren’t a safe option either. If you are having trouble quitting, the Quitline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free for any SC resident. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
To learn more about your risk for diabetes, click here to take an online risk assessment. For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes in SC, please email email@example.com or call 803-898-1934 to speak with someone in DHEC’s Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health Division.
Additional Resources to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes