GET TO THE HEART OF IT: Managing Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Diabetes

Know your ABC’s: Managing glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol

A1C blood test

The ‘A’ in ‘ABC’ stands for the A1C blood test. This test measures how well your blood glucose has been controlled over the past 2 to 3 months. Your test result should be 7% or less.

High blood glucose over time can damage many organs in the body, including the heart and blood vessels. Good blood glucose control combines:

  • a healthy weight
  • a healthy diet
  • regular physical activity
  • stress management
  • medications that lower blood glucose, in the form of pills or insulin, if needed.

Before and after meals, make sure that your blood glucose levels are within target:

Before meals 4 to 7 mmol/L
2 hours after meals 5 to 10 mmol/L

Blood pressure

The ‘B’ in ‘ABC’ stands for blood pressure. This is a measurement of the force of your blood against the blood vessel walls. The target for people with diabetes is less than 130/80 mm Hg.

The top number (130) in this target is the pressure when your heart contracts and pushes blood out (systolic pressure). The bottom number (80) is the pressure when the heart rests between beats (diastolic pressure).

Good blood pressure control includes medications that lower blood pressure and healthy lifestyle habits that help to manage your blood glucose.

Cholesterol

The ‘C’ in ‘ABC’ stands for cholesterol. This is a fat that we all have in our blood and cells. There are two types of cholesterol:

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is often called “bad” cholesterol. Higher levels of LDL can increase the risk of heart disease
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is often called “good” cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Your health care team will monitor your cholesterol levels. Your goal is to keep your LDL (bad) cholesterol to 2.0 mmol/L or less.

Lowering your cholesterol includes making healthy lifestyle choices. It is very helpful to eat a diet that is: