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Heart Health

Keep Your Heart Healthy by Reducing Your Blood Sugar.

When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, managing your blood sugar can help you reach that goal.  As one of Life’s Simple 7, keeping your blood sugar as close as possible to normal reduces your risk for heart attack and stroke. 

Follow these steps to get started on the pathway to lower blood sugar and better heart health!

Learn Why It Is Important.

Take Action to Be Healthy.

Know Your Numbers.

Talk with Your Doctor.

Know Your Family Heart History.


Learn Why It Is Important.

Having too much sugar in your blood for a long time can cause a number of health problems.  This high level of blood sugar, also called blood “glucose” - can damage many parts of your body, such as your:

The resulting heart and blood vessel disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes. 


Take  Action to Be Healthy.

How High is Your Blood Sugar?

Your blood sugar level could be higher than normal without you ever knowing it.  In fact, about one of every 3 U.S. adults has a blood sugar level that is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.  This condition is known as pre-diabetes.  And most people with pre-diabetes are not aware of their condition.   

Having pre-diabetes puts you at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, like heart disease and stroke

Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your blood sugar level.  If you do have pre-diabetes, research shows that doing just two things can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and heart-related problems:


What If You Already Have Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, the best ways to avoid damage to your blood vessels and heart are to:


Know Your Numbers.

Keeping your blood glucose on target can prevent or delay diabetes problems.  The chart below shows target blood glucose levels for most people with diabetes.


Target Blood Glucose Levels for People With Diabetes

Before meals


70 to 130


1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal


less than 180



Talk with your health care provider about what your blood glucose numbers should be.  Print this document and write your numbers in this chart.


My Target Blood Glucose Levels

Before meals


______ to ______              


1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal          


less than______          



Talk with your doctor about when you need to check your blood glucose using a blood glucose meter.  You will do the checks yourself.  Your health care provider can teach you how to use your meter.

Keep track of your blood glucose checks using the record page.  Make copies yourself or ask your doctor for a blood glucose record book.  Your blood glucose check results will help you and your doctor  make a plan for keeping your blood glucose under control.  Always bring your record book to your doctor visits so you can talk about reaching your glucose goals.


Talk with Your Doctor.

Ask your doctor for the A1C test.  This blood test shows the average amount of glucose in your blood during the past 2 to 3 months.  Have this test done at least twice a year.  If your A1C result is not on target, your doctor may do this test more often to see if your result is improving as your treatment changes.  Your A1C result plus your blood glucose meter results can show whether your blood glucose is under control.

The A1C target for most people with diabetes is below 7 percent.  Ask your doctor if this target is right for you.  Print and write your A1C target here:

                          My A1C target is ____________ percent.

If your A1C test result is on target, then your blood glucose is in a desirable range and your diabetes treatment plan is working.  The lower your A1C is, the lower your chance of having health problems.

If your result is too high, you may need a change in your diabetes plan.

Your health care team can help you decide what part of your plan to change.  You may need to change:

What Your A1C Result Means

My A1C Result

My Average Blood Glucose































Know Your Family Heart History.

Knowledge is one of your strongest weapons against heart disease.  Learn as much as you can about healthy living to keep your heart strong.

And because diseases of the heart and blood vessels can run in families, knowing your family history can provide important information about your health risks.  Talk to your family about their heart health history.  To learn how to create a heart health family tree, please visit Know Your Family Heart Health History.  

By talking to your doctor about your family heart health history, together you can look for ways to lower your risk of heart disease.


Points to Remember:


Hope Through Research - You Can Be Part of the Answer!

Many research studies are underway to help us learn about heart disease.  Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research?  Please visit the following links:



Prevent Diabetes Problems: Keep Your Diabetes Under Control (NIDDK)

For more information:

Go to the Heart Health health topic, where you can:

Last Reviewed: Apr 23, 2014