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To Avoid Heart Disease?


People diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure (or a family history of any of these diseases), are at risk of also having a heart attack and/or stroke. Taking medication is not enough to prevent cardiovascular disease—or the complications. Ask your doctor for your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure scores and how you can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
A is for the A1c Test
(for people diagnosed with diabetes)
The A1c test measures the percentage of sugar in your blood. Controlling your blood sugar is the key to reducing your risk of stroke or heart attack. If you are working to lower your blood sugar levels, you should have an A1c blood test regularly (every three months or how often your doctor recommends for your goals).

Regular A1c testing helps you and your doctor:

  • Verify the results of your daily self-tests and compare them to the A1c result.
  • Assess your plan for blood-sugar/diabetes management.
    The result is your diabetes “report card.”
  • See how your lifestyle changes (eating healthier & exercising more) affect your blood sugar. In general, every percentage point drop in the A1c blood test results (for example from 7% to 6%) reduces the risk of kidney, eye and nerve disease by 40%.
  • Your diabetes is “in control” when your score is less than 7%. If it is higher than 7%, talk to our physician about what you can do to lower
    your blood sugar and keep it under control consistently. Ask if your treatment and/or if your medication dosage needs adjusting. Ask what kinds of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your control of blood sugar.
  • The A1c test doesn’t take the place of daily self-testing blood sugar levels. You need real-time information for the day-to-day management of your blood sugar; (you can’t adjust your insulin doses based on an A1c result.)
  • With a combination of daily self-testing and an A1c test (two to four times annually), and your doctor’s advice, you will be well-equipped to keep your blood sugar under control.
Aspirin the other A
Aspirin is often prescribed to treat hardening of the arteries. When plaque (a fatty material) builds up in the artery walls, blood flow is reduced. A blood clot can form on the plaque, block the artery, and cut off blood flow which raises the risk of heart attack or stroke. Aspirin, a blood thinner, helps keep blood clots from forming—reducing the risk of blockage. (Also used after a stent placement, aspirin helps keep blood clots from forming on the stent.)

Tips for Taking Aspirin Safely

  • Your aspirin dosage should prescribed by your doctor and be based on your specific health history. Tell your doctor about any other medications you take and if you have a history of ulcers or bleeding problems.
  • Ask your physician if you need to stop taking aspirin before having surgery or dental work.
  • Develop a routine. For example, take aspirin with the same meal each day.
  • Don’t take more than prescribed. A low dose gives the same benefit as a higher one, with lower risk of side-effects.
  • Don’t skip doses. To be effective, aspirin must be taken every day.

When to Call Your

The side effects of aspirin are not usually serious. If you have problems, a dosage change may help. Call your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Excessive bruising (some bruising is normal)
  • Nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or any excessive bleeding
  • An upset stomach or stomach pain
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