Diabetes is a common, but often life-changing disease that can cause a number of complications. If you can manage your condition properly, then you don’t necessarily have to worry about diabetes controlling your life. However, if you’re not cautious, then you may find yourself suffering from some serious complication. It’s important to make sure that you get tested if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, to ensure that you can take preventive measures to protect yourself from becoming a diabetic.
In the past, measuring blood sugar level used to be a far more difficult process, as people had to use stick tests on urine samples, which only provided insights for a single space of time. Luckily, once A1C tests emerged in the 1980s, they became a crucial solution for controlling blood sugar level.
How Do A1C Levels Work?
A1C tests are intended to measure your average blood sugar or glucose level over a period of about three months, instead of focusing on blood sugar levels in a single day. A1C tests mean that doctors can see if your blood sugar was generally normal, despite things like high fasting blood sugar, and so on.
A1C levels work because the test measures the amount of hemoglobin that is present in your blood stream with glucose molecules attached to it. As you may already know, hemoglobin is simply a protein that exists within red blood cells, and it carries oxygen to the body. Hemoglobin cells are frequently regenerating and dying, but they do have an average lifespan of around three months.
When you consume food, glucose or blood sugar simply attaches to the hemoglobin in your blood. That means that you have a consistent record of how much sugar you have consumed in your hemoglobin cells, at least until those cells die and regenerate in the next three months. If you have too much sugar attached to your hemoglobin cells, then you might have higher A1C levels. However, if your amount of glucose is normal, then your A1C should be normal too.
Understanding A1C Levels and Scores:
According to most experts, normal A1C levels should be underneath 5.7%. If your score goes above that number, to the point of 6.4% then you may be given a diagnosis of prediabetes. If you do have prediabetes, then you may be at risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes within the next ten years. The good news here is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of progressing to diabetes.
If you test positively for prediabetes, then you will need to frequently organize a re-test to keep track of your condition. Additionally, if your score for A1C levels is about 6.5%, then you could be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. If this happens, then you will need to reduce the risk of complications by minimizing your A1C Levels.
The best way to lower your score, is to make small changes to your diet, exercise regimen, and overall lifestyle. If you have diabetes already, then you should find out what your optimum levels might be. People who are at risk of hypoglycemia cannot safely keep their levels under 7%.
Making a Plan to Lower A1C Levels:
The first step to controlling your A1C levels is making a plan. You’ll need to think about the challenges and goals you’re going to have to address when it comes to dealing with diabetes. These might include goals like losing weight, or changing your diet, so you can eat more healthily.
If you already have diabetes, then you will need to create a plan with the help of your doctor. This strategy should include information about medical instructions, emergency contacts, medications, and target blood glucose or A1C levels. You can also determine how frequently you should test based on what you know about your condition.
Change your Eating Habits:
One of the easiest ways to lower your A1C levels is to eat a healthy diet. You can print out charts or use applications to record exactly what you eat and when you eat. This tracking process will help you to make better decisions about your food to reduce your A1C levels.
Remember, the key to good health when you want to lose weight and keep your A1C levels to a minimum, is eating fewer calories than you use to. This means that you’ll need to consume less saturated fat, eat less processed foods, and think carefully about your diet.
Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to stop eating healthy carbs if you want to lower your A1C levels. Managing your diabetes is all about monitoring how many carbs you eat at any given time. It’s usually a good idea to choose a more nutrient rich and healthier carb solution like sweet potatoes or fruits, but make sure that you account for exactly how much you’re eating at any given time.
It may also be worth keeping in mind that scientists have proven that plant-based diets that have less unsaturated fats are generally better for blood sugar management goals.
Get Rid of Your Excess Weight:
For most people, lowering your A1C levels is all about reducing your weight as much as possible. Losing weight is an important goal, but it’s something you probably won’t be able to do with just the help of fad diets. A healthy plan for eating whole foods that are low in calories and fat could help you to make more significant long-term changes. Keep a calorie and fat counter with you whenever you can to assist you in making smarter choices. Remember, even a loss of around 5% body fat could be enough to minimize your risk of complications with diabetes.
Additionally, increasing your activity levels can help you to bring your A1C levels down permanently. All you need to do to get started is take a 20-minute walk after your dinner. You can gradually build up the amount you exercise as you progress through your goals for your lifestyle changes. Remember to get confirmation from your doctor to ensure that it’s okay for you to start exercising more.