Los Angeles Times

The 5 Numbers to Know if You Have Diabetes

- Clinical Lead, Know Diabetes by Heart Eduardo Sanchez, M.D.

Although Hispanic/Latino Americans are at signifıcan­t risk for developing diabetes and suffering from its devastatin­g complicati­ons, those living with diabetes can thrive. The path to a longer, healthier life starts with knowing and managing some basic health numbers.

My message for others living with diabetes is that we have control and choices,” said Lupe Barraza, who has type 2 diabetes and is a spokespers­on for Know Diabetes by Heart, an initiative of the American Heart Associatio­n and the American Diabetes Associatio­n.

“Managing key health numbers can help you prevent complicati­ons from diabetes, like heart failure and kidney disease,” Barraza said.

Paying attention to blood pressure, cholestero­l, and weight are

especially important for anyone living with diabetes, since having diabetes doubles your chances of developing cardiovasc­ular disease, including heart disease, strokes, and heart failure.

“You don’t have to wait until you get sick to go to the doctor. You, your doctor, and your family should work together now to keep you from getting sick,” Barraza said.

The American Heart Associatio­n and the American Diabetes Associatio­n share five key numbers all people living with diabetes should measure regularly:

1. BMI (body mass index)

Your BMI is an estimate of body size based on height and weight that is used to help determine if you’re overweight or have obesity. A normal BMI usually ranges from 18.6 to 24.9 and can be calculated at a doctor’s office or at home using a BMI calculator.

2. Blood pressure Blood pressure is the force with which the blood pumps through your body when your heart beats and is a sign of heart health. A healthy blood pressure for most people is less than 120/80 (measured in millimeter­s of mercury of pressure), but your doctor may give you a different goal based on your diabetes. Blood pressure can be measured at home with a blood pressure monitor or in a doctor’s offıce.

3. A1C

A1C is an indirect measure of your average blood glucose levels for the past two to three months. A healthy A1C for someone with diabetes is 7 percent or less. A1C is measured by a blood test and should be checked at least every six months if you have diabetes.

4. Cholestero­l Cholestero­l is a waxy substance in the blood. High cholestero­l levels can cause fatty deposits in blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Cholestero­l is usually measured by a fasting blood test in a doctor’s offıce.

5. Kidney function

Early detection of kidney disease is critically important. An often overlooked, simple test is the UACR (urine albumin to creatinine ratio), which can detect early signs of trouble. Kidney function is measured in a doctor’s office and should be done every year.

Visit www.KnowDiabet­esbyHeart. org for more informatio­n.

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