The ABC’s of Managing Diabetes

Diabetes conceptAccepting a diabetes diagnosis can be difficult, especially when you must change previous habits and adapt your lifestyle. But there’s good news: millions of people live full, happy, active and healthy lives, even with diabetes.

If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ,” says Robin Tallent, CVMC Diabetes Education Coordinator. “Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems, but at our Center for Diabetes Control, we take a team approach with one simple goal in mind – helping our patients manage their diabetes well.”

Understanding Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes: a serious, chronic and lifelong disease that occurs when the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot convert the glucose (blood sugar) from food into fuel to keep the body functioning. Daily insulin injections are required to survive. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults, and therefore, has also been referred to as ‘juvenile diabetes’. However, it can develop at any age and those with a family history are at highest risk. In Type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks ‘beta cells’ in the pancreas, prohibiting it from producing insulin. Reasons for this are still unknown, but genetics plays a major role.

Type 2 Diabetes: the most common form of diabetes, in which the body develops an ‘insulin resistance’ and does not make or use insulin properly. This causes the glucose (sugar) to stay in the blood, causing a variety of health problems and potentially leading to heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, and kidney or eye problems. In Type 2 diabetes, risk factors include those that can and cannot be controlled. Uncontrollable risk factors include: family history; race or ethnic background; age; history of gestational diabetes. Controllable risk factors include: being overweight/obesity; physical inactivity; high blood pressure; abnormal cholesterol levels, etc.

Pre-diabetes: this means that your blood sugar is higher than normal and likely your body is having trouble converting glucose into energy. These levels are not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic, but without making some healthy changes, there is a high risk you will eventually develop Type 2 diabetes.

The ABC’s of Managing Diabetes

  • A stands for the A1C Test. This test shows you what your blood glucose levels have been over the last three months. The goal for many is below 7.
  • B stands for Blood Pressure. The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90, but each person’s goals may vary.
  • C stands for Cholesterol. Ask your healthcare provider what your cholesterol numbers should be. LDL cholesterol is ‘bad’ cholesterol, causing a build up and clogging in the arteries, whereas HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from the blood vessels.

Getting Help

Tallent says, “The risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50% higher than for adults without diabetes. And, at least 1 out of 3 people will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. This is why it is important for you to work with a healthcare team to reach your ‘ABC goals’ and to develop a management plan that is right for you.”

Call the CVMC Provider Referral Line at 828.485.2300 for help finding a primary care provider near your home or business. Click here to find out more about the providers associated with CVMC in the Catawba Valley Medical Group and its 15 family practices. Many of our primary care providers have received national recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for providing quality care to patients with diabetes.

Making lifestyle changes is not easy, but it is critical for you to maintain a healthy, long life. Learn more about managing diabetes at one of the following upcoming classes or support groups held at the CVMC Center for Diabetes Control located at 810 Fairgrove Church Rd, Hickory, NC 28602:

Diabetes Comprehensive Education Class Series – Offered for both diabetes patients and caregivers, participants attending this series of four classes receive information on managing diabetes with topics such as how to track blood sugar numbers, plan healthy meals, consider treatment options, medication and monitoring, physical activity, acute and chronic complications, psychosocial adjustment and a post class A1C. Please note: participants must have a physician referral to attend.

      Upcoming Dates for the Diabetes Comprehensive Education Class Series

Adults with Diabetes Support Group meets every other month on the first Tuesday Upcoming sessions: 6:30 to 7:30pm on Tuesdays 9/5 and 11/7

Young Persons with Diabetes Support Group meets every other month on the first Thursday. Upcoming sessions: 6:30 to 7:30pm on Thursdays 8/3, 10/5 and 12/7

Need more information? Please contact the CVMC Center for Diabetes Control at 828.326.3442 or email Robin Tallent at




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