According to the American Diabetes Association, taking care of your diabetes and the conditions that come with it can help you lower your chances of heart and blood vessel disease. Even if you have heart disease or have already had a heart attack or a stroke, every step you take to keep your ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol) in your target range will help lower your risk of future heart disease or a stroke.

A for A1C Test

The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. According to the CDC, a good blood glucose level is below 5.7 percent; 5.7 to 6.4% is diagnosed as pre-diabetes; and 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes. You should be checked at least once a year.

B for Blood Pressure

A healthy or normal blood pressure reading is equal to or less than 120 over 80 (120/80 mm Hg). The top number refers to systolic pressure, which is the pressure against artery walls when the heart pumps. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, represents pressure between beats. You should have your blood pressure checked every doctor’s visit.

C for Cholestrol

The body makes cholesterol but it also appears in some foods. LDL or "bad" cholesterol can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. HDL or "good" cholesterol can lower his risk of developing heart disease. Less than 100 mg/dl is considered good. You should have your cholesterol checked once a year.