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To your health: Men: Take steps to manage diabetes for life
From the National Diabetes Education Program
If you have diabetes, you know the day-to-day steps needed to manage diabetes can be hard. Managing diabetes isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. If left untreated, men with diabetes can face serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and even the loss of a toe or foot. Diabetes can also lead to sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction.
An important part of managing your diabetes is knowing your diabetes ABCs -- A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
A is for the A1C test. It measures your average blood glucose level over the past three months. The goal for many people with diabetes is below 7. Ask what your goal should be.
B is for blood pressure. If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. It can cause a heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Ask what your goal should be.
C is for cholesterol. There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” can build up and clog your blood vessels. HDL, or “good” cholesterol, helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels. Ask what your cholesterol numbers should be.
If you smoke, get help to stop smoking. Talk to your health-care team about your ABC numbers and what you can do to reach your ABC goals.
The National Diabetes Education Program offers tips to help you take action to manage your diabetes. An important first step is to set a goal for yourself. Choose something that is important to you and that you believe you can do. Then make a plan by choosing the small steps you will take. For example, start working toward getting 30 minutes of physical activity, such as brisk walking, most days of the week. If you have not been very active in the past, start slowly and try adding a few minutes each day. Ask others for help with your plan.
The National Diabetes Education Program has free resources that can help. Order a free copy of “4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life” and get more information about managing diabetes at 1-888-693-NDEP (1-888-693-6337) or www.YourDiabetesInfo.org.
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