As a person battling diabetes, you are constantly being reminded to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and monitor your blood glucose levels. But, how do you know your efforts are paying off? Well, there are 3 tests directly affected by good glucose control, diet, and exercise. Knowing your numbers and how they are trending will help determine just how well you’re doing.
1. Hemoglobin A1c
The Hemoglobin A1c, often referred to as your A1c, is a blood test that shows a 3-month average of your blood glucose levels. In general, this test indicates how well your diabetes has been managed over time. Most health care providers check it every 6 months.
Normal HbA1c is 5% or less. Your goal should be to keep this number below 7%. By maintaining A1c levels below 7% you can lower the risk of getting kidney, eye, and nerve problems. Any value above 7% indicates poor diabetes management.
2. Blood Pressure
It’s a great idea to have a blood pressure monitor at home to measure your blood pressure on a regular basis. Have blood pressure checked at every medical appointment. Your goal should be to maintain a blood pressure less than 120/80, provided that you don’t have other diabetes complications.
This test checks your Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Triglyceride levels. This test should be performed at least once per year.
The first cholesterol to watch is Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the bad cholesterol. Your goal is to keep this value below 100. Should you have heart disease you need to keep it even lower – often below 70. Increasing fiber intake while limiting saturated fats and dietary cholesterol will help lower LDL levels.
The second cholesterol to watch is High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the good cholesterol. HDL is known to prevent heart disease, so generally, the higher the number the better. Exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation will help accomplish desired levels of HDL.
The last group, Triglycerides, are the end product of breaking down fats in meals. Your goal here should be to keep Triglyceride levels less than 150.
* The information presented in this article is not meant for medical advice and is only meant for general information. Please always consult your health provider before changing your medical treatment plan.
Derek is a husband, father, former athlete, and occasional blogger. He can usually be found drinking coffee reading a book. Derek likes to write about the challenges and stigma of diabetes. He is passionate about sharing his experiences of dealing with diabetes with others to help them improve their lives.