If you have diabetes, remembering to monitor your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels is as easy as ABC.

What They Are While being diabetic increases your possibility of having a heart attack, stroke and other diabetes-related problems, monitoring your A1C (blood glucose), blood pressure and cholesterol levels helps you reduce these risks. Here's what you need to know about your diabetes ABCs.

  • A stands for the A1C test, which indicates your blood glucose level for the past three months. For most people, the A1C goal is a reading below 7. High blood glucose levels can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet and eyes.

  • B stands for blood pressure. For most people, the goal is a reading that's no higher than 130/80. The higher your blood pressure the harder your heart needs to work and the greater the possibility that you will have a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease.

  • C stands for cholesterol. There are two types: LDL ("bad" cholesterol), which can build up and clog blood vessels, causing a heart attack or stroke; and HDL ("good" cholesterol), which helps remove cholesterol from your blood vessels. For most people, the LDL goal is a reading that is under 100 and the HDL goal is a reading above 40.

What You Should Do If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, ask your physician what your numbers are and what they should be, and follow a diabetes-healthy lifestyle that combines diet and exercise as designated by your health care team. And monitor your ABCs!

For more information visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Diabetes Education Program.