How To Lower Your A1c Level
When you have diabetes, you probably know you should check your blood sugar regularly. Your doctor will also recommend that you take an A1c blood test a few times a year, with a goal of lowering the results to help protect your health. And thereâs a lot you can do to move toward meeting that goal.
Unlike a regular blood sugar test, the A1c test measures the amount of sugar that clings to a protein, called hemoglobin, in your red blood cells. The test shows your average blood sugar levels over the past few months, so you know how well your diabetes is under control.In general, the goal for your A1c is to be lower than 7%. Exactly how much lower will depend on your individual treatment plan. When you take steps to get your A1c in a healthy range, you lower your risk of complications such as nerve damage, eye problems, and heart disease.
Your doctor will let you know the best target for your A1c. How do you get there? Here are a few tactics to try, in addition to taking any medications your doctor prescribes.
Get some new kitchen gear. Youâll want to get a set of measuring cups and a kitchen scale if you donât already have them. These will help you with your portion sizes. Your blood sugar will go up if you eat more food than your body needs. Keeping servings in check is a good way to reduce your A1c level.
Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.
One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (
You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.
Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .
Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.
This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.
Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.
Other Steps For How To Reduce Blood Sugar Level Immediately
While insulin is what will mainly help, there are other methods that can be used in both severe and less so severe cases of hyperglycemia. Alternative methods are especially helpful for those with non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
In severe cases , its advisable for healthcare professionals to take care of you.
First, they will likely inject insulin to your veins . In addition to this, they will rehydrate you with fluids, usually directly to your veins too. They will also give you nutrients at the same time, in the same manner.
This treatment gives some clues as to how to reduce blood sugar level immediately in less severe cases:
1) Stay hydrated drink water. Since being thirsty is a symptom of hyperglycemia/high blood glucose, youll probably want to be drinking plenty of water anyway. This helps with flushing out excess glucose.
2) Stay nourished. This is less straightforward, since eating food can often lead to even higher levels of blood glucose. But because youll be drinking a great deal of water , youll also be flushing out nutrients at the same time.
So, its worth considering eating something nourishing after youve lowered your blood sugar. Or, if you want to keep up your nutrients during hyperglycemia, consider drinking fluids without carbs and with electrolytes.
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Keep An Eye On Your Waistline
Far from a quick fix to lower your blood sugar quickly, this is more of a fact-of-life tip. You likely know the reasons why maintaining a healthy weight is vital to your longevity and quality of life.
It turns out that a trim tummy not only helps your pants fit better but also wards off the risk of developing abnormal high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and diabetes28. Your wait measurement could be more important than the number on the scale when it comes to maintaining metabolic health and avoiding chronic conditions related to high glucose.
Men and women who have waist circumferences greater than 40 inches and 35 inches , respectively, are considered to be at increased risk for cardiometabolic disease29.
A whole foods diet made up of more low-glycemic foods than high combined with plenty of physical activity, enough quality sleep, hydration, and stress coping strategies can help you whittle your waist to a healthy circumference.
Do Not Drive With Low Blood Sugar
People will need to avoid driving while they have low blood sugar levels as it could be dangerous. People will need to wait until their levels return to within a normal range before driving.
If people start to experience symptoms of hypoglycemia while driving, they will need to safely stop the car and check their blood sugar levels.
People may find it helpful to store quick-acting carbohydrates, such as orange juice or glucose tablets, in their car if their levels drop while driving.
If people have hypoglycemia or diabetes, they can discuss an eating plan with a healthcare provider. Tips may include the following:
- eating snacks and small meals around every three hours throughout the day
- opting for a variety of foods, including protein, high-fat foods, and high-fiber foods
- limiting foods high in sugar
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Beware Of Low Blood Sugars
Remember, above all else, its very easy to over-treat a high blood sugar and wind up low. Then youll be tempted to binge-eat and wind up high again. This blood sugar roller coaster is exhausting and dangerous, too.
Frequently finding yourself on the blood sugar roller coaster means your approach to taking insulin and/or how you treat low blood sugars isnt working and needs some fine-tuning. Work with your healthcare team to reduce and prevent these wild swings to ensure your overall safety and quality of life!
A Brief Overview Of The Ketogenic Diet The Real Type 2 Diabetes Diet
For those who dont know, the ketogenic diet restricts daily carbohydrates to around 20-30g of net carbs . Restricting carbohydrates to this degree forces your body to burn fat for fuel a process called ketosis. Once your body is in ketosis, your blood sugar levels will decrease and your A1C levels will drop.
For more information on how to start a ketogenic diet to lower blood sugar read our beginners guide to the ketogenic diet.
Here is a brief list of what you should and should not eat on a ketogenic diet:
Do Not Eat:
- Meats fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
- Leafy Greens spinach, kale, etc.
- Above ground vegetables broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- High Fat Dairy hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
- Nuts and seeds macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Avocado and berries raspberries, raspberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
- Sweeteners stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
- Other fats coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
If youre new to keto, you can always see our more detailed ketogenic food list >
Before you start, it is important to know that your blood sugar wont drop instantly. Some studies suggest that you may have to stay on a ketogenic diet for 16 weeks before your blood sugar is under control.
However, this doesnt mean that you will have to wait that long. You can lower your blood sugar today especially if you eat the ten foods that lower your blood sugar naturally.
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How To Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
Nearly 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes, and globally rates are expected to double by 2030. Significant evidence shows you can lower your blood sugar quickly, and even reverse diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle:
- In the United Kingdom, researchers successfully lowered blood sugar and reverse diabetes by implementing a combination of a lifestyle change and weight loss.
- In urban locations in Africa, scientists have found educational programs help prediabetic adults alter their lifestyle to effectively lower blood sugar levels.
- The most extensive study was completed in the United States and was called the Diabetes Prevention Program Randomized Trail. The study observed 3,234 men and women with pre-diabetes over a three-year period. The researchers found a healthy lifestyle was more effective than medication in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. One third of the adults took a placebo, another took metformin , while the final third of the adults adopted lifestyle changes that were similar to the Pritikin Program . Adults who adopted a lifestyle change were twice as likely to reduce the progression of their pre-diabetes into type 2 diabetes than the control group.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as the Pritikin lifestyle, is twice as effective as medication in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Control How Much Sugar You Eat
While this one may seem obvious to some, donât scroll past just yet. How closely do you read ingredient labels? You likely buy and eat some processed foods unless you make all foods including sauces, dressings, and condiments, from scratch.
Thatâs OK youâre a modern-day human and convenience and cost matter. But, most packaged or pre-made foods contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Select carefully and, as an example, buy big tubs of steel-cut oats or quick-cooking oats over the flavored, sugary oatmeal in a box or cup.
Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, professor, and specialist in childhood obesity, believes that sugar is so toxic to health that he recommends federal regulation against marketing sugar-laden products1 to children and even adding taxes to processed foods that contain added sugar.
These ideas may seem radical but are similar to rules that govern marketing alcohol to minors, and similar to the extra taxes consumers pay to purchase alcohol and tobacco products. Just as booze and cigarettes can be addictive for some, sugar can hook you and make you want more2.
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Get A Handle On Stress
When youre stressed out, your blood sugar tends to rise, Crandall Snyder says. According to the Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California in San Francisco, when youre stressed, insulin levels fall, certain hormones rise, and more glucose is released from the liver, which ends up in the blood stream and can cause disruptions for up to eight hours.
How can you burn off tension? Yoga and meditation can help people lower their blood sugar levels, Weisenberger says. A December 2014 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science involving 27 nursing students and found a combination of yoga and meditation practiced for one hour once a week led to reduced levels of stress and lower blood glucose levels after 12 weeks.
Crandall Snyder also suggests taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk, playing with your dog for a few minutes, or listening to a fun song. Basically whatever you can do to distract yourself for a few minutes and just lower your breathing rate will help, she says. Indeed, the CDC notes that less water in your body is liked with a higher blood sugar concentration.
What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself
Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.
If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by
- talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
- teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
- wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.
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What Foods Will Help Regulate My Blood Sugar
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a long-term health condition that is characterized by high blood glucose levels. The disease affects the ability of the body to convert food into energy inside the body. The food you eat is converted to simpler forms, most commonly glucose, inside the body. When the glucose in the blood increases, the body releases a hormone called insulin in the blood. Insulin brings high blood glucose levels back to normal levels. In diabetes, either there is a deficiency of insulin or the body is unable to respond to insulin . In either of the cases, there is an increased concentration of glucose in the blood known as hyperglycemia.
If you have diabetes, you must check your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure the levels are not too low or too high . Depending on your age and any other health conditions, your doctor may advise you to keep your blood sugar level in a range that they consider will be safe and healthy for you. Whenever your blood sugar level is over 240 mg/dL, you must check the presence of ketones in the urine by using an over the counter ketone test kit. High levels of ketones can be a sign of a serious medical emergency called diabetic ketoacidosis. Seek urgent medical help if your urine shows the presence of ketones or you have any signs of ketoacidosis, such as fast breathing, nausea and vomiting, stomachache, headache, or fruity smell from the mouth.
Can You Raise Blood Sugar Without Food
Two products glucose gel and chewable glucose tablets are also effective at quickly raising blood sugar. Theyre available without a prescription and are recommended for people who experience frequent episodes of low blood sugar.
If youve had severe low blood sugar symptoms in the past, speak with your doctor about whether a glucagon kit is right for you. Glucagon is a hormone that triggers your liver to release glucose into the bloodstream.
These kits are only available by prescription. Theyre used to raise your blood sugar when youre not able to eat or drink, such as in a state of unconsciousness. Therefore, someone else, like a friend or family member, typically administers this medication for you.
An episode of low blood sugar that necessitates assistance from another person is by definition severe hypoglycemia. The kits come with a syringe and needle that can be used to inject glucagon into your arm, thigh, or buttocks.
Be sure to ask your doctor when and how to use a glucagon kit. Also, let your family and friends know how to use it and how to recognize a hypoglycemic emergency.
There are many different factors that can cause a dip in your blood sugar levels. Here are some of the most common causes.
Stay Hydrated With Water
Up to 60% of the human body is water, so it makes sense that drinking plenty of h-two-oh remains necessary for good health. Water lubricates the joints, forms saliva and mucus, helps keep skin elastic, cushions the brain and spinal cord, regulates body temperature, flushes toxins, and helps maintain blood pressure.
Calorie-free and exactly what your body needs, water prevents dehydration and helps your kidneys flush out excess glucose. One study showed that those who drank more water were less likely to develop hyperglycemia20 .
Hypoglycemia And Physical Activity
People taking insulin or insulin secretagogues are at risk for hypoglycemia if insulin dose or carbohydrate intake is not adjusted with exercise. Checking your blood sugar before doing any physical activity is important to prevent hypoglycemia . Talk to your diabetes care team to find out if you are at risk for hypoglycemia.
If you experience hypoglycemia during or after exercise, treat it immediately:
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Talk To Your Doctor Or Nurse
If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:
- Are injecting your insulin the right way
- Need a different type of needle
- Should change how much insulin you take
- Should change the kind of insulin you take
DO NOT make any changes without talking to your doctor or nurse first.
Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist.