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Diabetes Tip of the Month: Blood pressure and cholesterol

During our diabetes education classes, we talk about the ABC’s of diabetes. This is essentially a way for you to remember your most important health numbers.

A: A1c

B: Blood pressure

C: Cholesterol

Of the three vital health numbers for diabetes, two have to do with your heart health. Heart health is extremely important in diabetes. Diabetes can double your risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. In fact, strokes and heart attacks are the most common causes of death in people with diabetes. Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to decrease your risk!

  1. Know you blood pressure. For most people, a blood pressure goal is <140/90 mgHH. Some health care providers may want your blood pressure <130/90. Check with your health care provider to know your blood pressure goal.

After you know your goal, it is important that you check your blood pressure at home. Be sure you do this first thing in the morning, before caffeine and/or tobacco use and before you get your heart rate up. Keep a log of what your blood pressure runs at home and take it to your appointments.

  1. Control your cholesterol. When cholesterol is high, it can cause plaques to form on the inside lining of your blood vessels. If the plaques get too big, they can cause blockages and clots to form. These blockages and clots can lead to heart attacks and strokes. By controlling your cholesterol, you are decreasing your risk for these complications.

You may be able to control your cholesterol by making a few diet changes. Try the DASH eating plan. It can help decrease your cholesterol and blood pressure. It focuses on eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, beans and nuts. It limits foods high in saturated fat (fatty meats and full fat dairy products), sugar-sweetened beverages, and sweets. For more information visit:

  1. Exercise: As counterintuitive as it sounds, regular exercise can actually help decrease your blood pressure and increase your good cholesterol. The American Diabetes Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. This comes out to about 30 minutes 5 days a week. If you are new to exercise, I recommend starting at 10-15 minutes a day for 3-4 days a week and slowly increasing time and days per week.

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No information or content on this website is to be taken as implicit or explicit advice. Please contact a medical professional for guidance.

Photos on this website are provided by Vowell Publishing, Inc. and NARMC.

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