The National Institutes of Health are promoting Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes to enlighten diabetics that they are at higher risk of heart disease. The campaign also helps diabetics understand they can reduce this risk by controlling the ABCs (A1C blood test, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and stop smoking).
What is A1C? This is a blood test that provides a measurement of your average blood sugar level for the last three months. This is different from daily blood sugar checks. The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is to be below 7. Ask your doctor what your goal should be.
What is blood pressure? This is the pressure (or force) your blood exerts against the walls of your blood vessels. High blood pressure can lead to stroke and other heart issues, so ask your doctor what blood pressure range is best for you.
What is cholesterol? There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL the bad cholesterol) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL the good cholesterol). LDL cholesterol can accumulate and block blood flow in the veins and arteries. This can lead to stroke or heart attack. HDL can help in the removal of the LDL cholesterol from the blood vessels. Get tested at the frequency recommended by your doctor and ask what your numbers are, and what you can do to get into the recommended range.
Stop smoking. This is one of the most positive actions you can take to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke (and other diseases like lung cancer).