North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Health

May 6, 2009

Diabetics at much greater risk of suffering a stroke

Health Watch By Sherry Mullenix

The North Jefferson News




People with diabetes have a two-to-five times greater risk of having a stroke, and having diabetes also puts you at higher risk of dying from stroke.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your likelihood of heart disease and stroke, by knowing and controlling your ABCs — your A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol.

The A1c is a test that is usually performed two-to-four times a year. The A1c (or Hgb A1c) blood test measures average blood sugar over two or three months. What you ate the night before the Hgb A1c blood test does not affect the result.

It is also known as HbA1c, hemoglobin A1c, A1c, glycosylated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin or glycated hemoglobin. The test can be done at any time of the day in a lab using a sample of blood from your arm.

Let’s compare A1c to candy apples. Imagine your red blood cells are like candy apples in a candy factory — maybe Willy Wonka’s — where the apples get soaked in syrup for three months.

The more sugar in the syrup, the sweeter the apple. Well, the more sugar in your blood, the sweeter the red blood cell. Blood sugar sticks to the hemoglobin in red blood cells and the red blood cells live for three months while floating around in your blood. There you have it — candy coated hemoglobin. The goal of the A1c test is to have a result of less than 7 percent.

Blood pressure monitoring is usually checked at every doctor visit. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.

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