Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You can do a lot to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

Keep blood glucose under control. You can see if your blood glucose is controlled by the A1C test at least twice a year. The A1C test tells your average blood glucose over the past 2 to 3 months. The goal for most people with diabetes is below 7. In some people with heart disease or other special circumstances, your doctor may recommend slightly higher levels of A1C



Keep your blood pressure under control. Have it checked at every doctor visit. The target for most people with diabetes is below 130/80.

Keep your cholesterol under control. Have it checked at least once a year. The targets for most people with diabetes are

LDL-bad-cholesterol: below 100
HDL-good-cholesterol: above 40 in men and above 50 in women
triglycerides-another type of fat in the blood: below 150

Make physical activity part of your daily routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Ask your doctor about what activities are best for you. Take a half-hour walk every day. Or walk for 10 minutes after each meal. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the other end of the plot.

Make sure the foods you eat are "heart healthy." Include foods high in fiber, like oat bran, oatmeal, whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables. Reduce consumption of foods rich in saturated fat or cholesterol, such as meat, butter, fat dairy products, eggs, butter, lard, and foods with palm oil or coconut oil. Limit foods with trans fats, such as sandwiches and baked goods.

Lose weight if necessary. If you are overweight, try to exercise most days of the week. Consult a registered dietitian for help in planning meals and reducing fat and calories in your diet to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Ask your doctor about taking an aspirin every day. Studies have shown that taking a low dose of aspirin every day can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

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