Frequently Asked Questions

19. What are the ABCs of diabetes?

Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death for people with diabetes. Controlling the ABCs of diabetes -- your blood glucose, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol, as well as stopping smoking -- can help prevent these and other complications from diabetes.

  • A is for the A1C test
  • B is for Blood pressure
  • C is for Cholesterol.
  • The A1C test (A-one-C) shows you what your blood glucose has been over the last three months. Your health care provider does this test to see what your blood glucose level is most of the time. This test should be done at least twice a year for all people with diabetes and for some people more often as needed. For many people with diabetes, an A1C test result of under 7 percent usually means that their diabetes treatment is working well and their blood glucose is under control.
  • B is for Blood pressure. The goal for most people is 140/90 but may be different for you. High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard. It can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Your blood pressure should be checked at every doctor visit. Talk with your health care provider about your blood pressure goal.
  • C is for Cholesterol (ko-LES-ter-ol). The LDL goal for most people is less than 100. Low density lipoprotein, or LDL-cholesterol, is the bad cholesterol that builds up in your blood vessels. It causes the vessels to narrow and harden, which can lead to a heart attack. Your doctor should check your LDL at least once a year. Talk with your health care provider about your cholesterol goal.

Ask your health care team

  • what your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers are.
  • what your ABCs should be.
  • what you can do to reach your target.