As simple as ABC…


On several occasions I have been asked to demystify diabetes, such as the 5 – 10 top tips in diabetes care.

The more I have thought about it the more complicated it seemed.

What I may think are the top ten tips may not be yours.

So I have decided that as in all dealings in any condition, we, the health professional have our own language that we bandy about and expect, YOU, the patient or carer to understand.

We may have told you once or twice before but as with most people in any intimidating environment be it “Clinic” or “Doctors Surgery” people are mostly too polite to say “Say that again! Slower and simpler”.

Not because you are stupid or simple, simply because it can seem all gobblygook.

The Americans as always have a simple way – The ABC of Diabetes so here goes….

A – A1c (USA) HbA1c (UK) is the ‘glycated haemaglobin’ and as you may be aware it is used to look at your blood sugar status retrospectively over the last 3 months, usually. It always amazes me how many people have never had this explained to them.
HbA1c gives you and your Health Professional the average of what your blood glucose is and if it is within target. Always useful when wanting to change medication and to aid in the prevention of complications.

Target numbers have changed 48-58mmol/mol (new translation) 6.5-7.5mmol/l% (old translation) but the same target level.

B – is for blood pressure, a great way of checking your heart and kidneys are working effectively, aids the Health Professional and yourself in preventing complications such as heart attack, stroke and kidney problems

C – is your cholesterol, important for you to know what your levels are and the various parts of cholesterol. Aids in the prevention of heart attacks or stroke. It is important that you know what good and bad control is.

LDL (low-density lipids) bad cholesterol less than 2 mmol/l and needs to be lower than
HDL(high-density lipids) good cholesterol above 1mmol/l in men and above 1.2mmol/l in women.
Total cholesterol which needs to be less than 4mmol/l and
Triglycerides (bad cholesterol) less than 1.7mmol/l.
(Taken from the British Heart Foundation HIS3 Reducing Cholesterol Booklet)

That’s it for now I will continue with the alphabet over the coming weeks keeping you updated in simple terms.

Just so you know if there is anything you want to say, please leave feedback or any worries or concerns just email back, always between the two of us.

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  • Thanks Maureen you gave me back my sanity through your advice and support at Cottam Lane I wish you well in your new venture.
    We miss you!

    • Jackie,
      How kind of you to have taken the time to write this comment so very much appreciated.

      Maureen 🙂

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