Health and Family Services Cabinet
Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes
The Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) are teaming up to let the nearly 21 million Americans with diabetes know they are at high risk for heart attack and stroke.
Heart disease is more likely to strike people with diabetes — and at an earlier age — than it is to strike those without diabetes. In fact, heart disease and stroke account for about 65 percent of deaths in people with diabetes. An estimated 8.5 percent of the adult population, or 267,000 people, in Kentucky have been diagnosed with diabetes.
An additional 109,000 Kentuckians may be living with undiagnosed diabetes. That’s a total of 376,000, or 12 percent, of adult Kentuckians who are at high risk of heart attack or stroke because of diabetes.
It is possible to fight back. The risk of heart attack and stroke can be lowered by controlling the ABCs of diabetes.
· A is for A1C. The A1C test measures your average blood glucose (sugar) over the past 3 months.
· B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard.
· C is for cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your arteries.
The Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and NDEP advise people with diabetes to work with their health care provider to better manage their health and prevent heart disease. It’s important to check A1C levels twice a year; blood pressure should be checked at each doctor’s visit; and cholesterol should be tested at least once a year.
Specifically, a person’s A1C level should be below seven, blood pressure below 130/80 and LDL cholesterol below 100. To reach these targets, patients should work closely with their health care provider to put together an action plan of lifestyle changes and medications, if needed, to help reach and maintain goals for the ABCs of diabetes.
Here are some general guidelines to help people with diabetes reduce or lower their risk of heart disease and improve their quality of life.
· Get at least 60 minutes of physical activity, such as brisk walking, most days of the week.
· Eat less fat and salt.
· Eat more fiber — choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.
· Maintain a healthy weight.
· Stop smoking — ask your health care provider for help.
· Take medicines as prescribed.
· Ask your health care provider about taking aspirin.
· Ask others to help you manage your diabetes.
For more information about diabetes, go to the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Web site at www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/ach/diabetes or contact NDEP at (800) 438-5383 or www.ndep.nih.gov.