How To Lower Your A1c: The Complete Guide
We are always told that having a low A1c is an important goal in our diabetes management, but do you know why? Do you know what a good A1c target is, how to lower your A1c, and how quickly you can lower your A1c safely?
These are the questions I will answer in this comprehensive guide on what A1c is, how to lower your A1c, and why achieving a low A1c isnt the only goal when it comes to diabetes management.
Managing Stomach Viruses The Flu And Repeated Vomiting
If you are a person with type 1 diabetes and you get a stomach virus that causes you to repeatedly vomit which means you are unable to keep food or water down you need to visit an emergency room immediately. If you have a glucagon kit, consider using it to prevent severe low blood sugar until you are being cared for in an emergency room.
Average Blood Sugar Levels
|140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating|
|180 mg/dL 1 hour after drinking glucose|
|155 mg/dL 2 hours after drinking glucose|
|140 mg/dL 3 hours after drinking glucose|
|95 mg/dL after fasting for glucose-tolerance test for pregnant women|
The results of blood sugar tests vary by testing method and lab but generally doctors consider a fasting blood sugar of up to 100 mg/dL to be within the average range. From blood drawn 2 hours after a person eats, doctors consider a level of up to 140 mg/dL to be average. In a glucose-tolerance test for pregnant women, a level of 95 mg/dL after fasting is considered to be the, ‘target,’ level. A doctor who is concerned might order additional testing at 1,2 and 3 hours after a person drinks glucose. The target levels for those tests are 180 mg/dL, 155 mg/dL and 140 mg/dL. Gestational diabetes is indicated if 2 or more of the 4 levels equal or go over the desired target level.
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What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
Commonly known reasons why your blood sugar may be high in the morning include high-carb bedtime snacks and not enough diabetes medications.
Yet two lesser-known reasons may be causing your morning blood sugar woes: the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect. These causes of high morning blood sugar levels are a result of body changes and reactions that happen while you are sleeping.
Glycosylated Hemoglobin Or Hemoglobin A1c
Reflects average blood sugar levels over the preceding 90-day period. Elevated levels are associated with prediabetes and diabetes. Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of a cardiac event. A person with diabetes has the same risk for heart attack as a person without diabetes, who has experienced one heart attack, having a second heart attack. Aggressive global preventive risk reduction efforts, such as lower LDL targets, diet, exercise and blood pressure control, are recommended.
Goal values :
- A range of 5.7-6.4 percent indicates an increased risk for development of diabetes , and lifestyle interventions may be beneficial.
- A value equal or greater than 6.5 percent is considered diabetes.
This test may be measured any time of the day without fasting.
Glycosylated hemoglobin is blood glucose attached to hemoglobin . This test is often called the “diabetes report card.” It reflects the average blood sugar for the two to three month period before the test.
To calculate the average blood glucose level from the HbA1C:
HbA1C level x 33.3 86 = average blood glucose level for the past 90 days. HbA1C can be helpful to track diabetes control over time.
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Check Blood Sugar Regularly
People who regularly check their blood sugar tend to have better-controlled blood sugar overall. Checking blood sugar levels at home helps people become aware of their blood sugar trends. It can also help people identify how their lifestyle habits affect their blood sugar and make adjustments to achieve better blood sugar control.
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How The Random Blood Glucose Test Is Done :
If your doctor wants Random blood glucose test on you, you may need a Random blood glucose blood test. During the Random blood glucose blood test, a pathologist will put a needle into your veins and take out a small quantity of blood. A pathologist is a physician in the medical field who thoroughly studies the causes and effects of disease. Within a few hours you will get your Random blood glucose Test report by your pathologist.
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My Perspective On A1c As A Person Living With Diabetes
I have a very ambivalent relationship with my A1c myself. Ive been living with type 1 diabetes for over 20 years, and my A1c is not something I think about in my daily life. However, every three months when I see my endo, I get a little anxious because receiving your A1c can feel a lot like getting your diabetes report card.
And, quite honestly, thats really silly. My A1c number doesnt reflect whats been going on in my life for the last three months. It doesnt tell me how much effort Ive put into managing my diabetes and it does not define me as a person. Its a good source of information, nothing more.
Still, we tend to look at it and judge, good or bad, how weve done with our diabetes management. But we really shouldnt!
That doesnt mean that I think we shouldnt get our A1c checked. I absolutely think we should, but we also need to understand what it means as well as why we should look beyond the A1c number. I hope this guide has given you the knowledge and tools to do so!
Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications. Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications like Metformin, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
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How To Bring Down The Blood Sugar Level Quickly
When level of blood sugar is dangerous, you need to bring it down quickly, to avoid further complications. When trying to lower down the sugar level quickly, be very careful, as the level can drop down too low, which can also be dangerous. Extremely low blood sugar levels is termed as hypoglycemia, which is equally common in diabetics. Hence, maintaining the blood sugar levels within the normal range is essential.
Few ways to bring down the level of blood sugar quickly include,
- Drink lot of water: Excess water dilutes the blood sugar and help to pass it out through urine. This way the sugar level drops down.
- If suffering from kidney or heart problem avoid this solution and follow medical advice.
- Exercise: Vigorous exercise increases heart rate. Increased heart rate for more than 15 minutes can increase the insulin response. This can help to bring down the level of blood sugar quickly.
- High protein snack: Protein helps in stabilizing the sugar level. Always check the high protein snack is not high in sugar level. Cheese and almond can be a good option.
- Insulin administration: Insulin helps in lowering down the sugar level quickly. Therefore a doctors advised dose can be taken. Never miss checking the sugar level after insulin administration, to prevent hypoglycemia.
All the above solutions prove to be very helpful to quickly bring down the sugar level. Always keep a handy snack when trying these tips to help, in case the sugar level dips too low.
Prepare Your Bedroom For Sleep
To optimize your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, its a good idea if your room is quiet, cool, dark, and comfortable.
Set the thermostat between 60°F and 67°F the optimal temperature for sleep.
Lighting matters. Our bodies produce a hormone called melatonin, which helps you sleep. Light slows melatonin production. The more light exposure you have, the less melatonin you produce, and the harder it can be to fall asleep.
Dim the lights as it gets closer to bedtime. Close the shades and curtains in your bedroom so that the rising sun wont wake you up in the morning. Consider installing room darkening or blackout curtains.
Noise can disturb your sleep too. Move your cellphone to another room or put it in a drawer so that incoming texts and calls dont wake you up. If youre sensitive to noise, get a fan or white noise machine, or use earplugs to block out any unwanted sounds.
High Blood Sugar: 13 Reasons Your Glucose Levels Are Rising
May 2, 2021
Itâs a fact of life that blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day. These ups and downs depend on a handful of factors, like when you wake up, what you eat, the medications you take, and how you manage stress. So, some variation is normal, to the point that you might not even notice it.
Ignoring blood sugar level changes altogether, though, means youâre ignoring a valuable marker of your health. Especially if you start to have new or unfamiliar symptoms like fatigue, thirst, or brain fog . Learning these symptoms and their causes will give you the tools to better understand your own body, then take the right actions for better long-term metabolic health.
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Foods To Eat To Lower Blood Sugar Is 147 Blood Sugar High After Eating
Li Xuan issued an order, ordering the blood avatar to hunt is 230 blood sugar dangerous everywhere, he commanded in the secret realm of the soul, and at the same time worked hard to improve strength.Time passed, and three months passed in a blink of an eye.In the past three months, the world has become a lot quieter.After Beijiang experienced the first demonic disaster, does high blood sugar cause ringing in ears no new demons invaded, and even the Western Desert and the East China Sea were much more settled.But Li Xuan did not take it lightly, instead he hid himself more solemnly.Because he found that many strange little flying insects appeared in the northern border.These small flying insects are very fast, scattered all over the northern border, secretly monitoring many areas in the northern border in the form of a net, like they are looking for something.The little flying insects looked harmless to humans and animals, but in Li Xuan s eyes, there was black air above them, obviously belonging to the evil side.
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Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat
Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.
Its especially important to keep this in mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.
- Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, or rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- The common cold and other illnesses: usually raise blood sugar and insulin needs
- Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- An injury that raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar
While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.
For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.
How Do I Measure Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.
Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, its good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.
Check out these blood sugar monitors if youre looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.
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Why Your Blood Sugar Level May Be High
Based on the ADA guidelines above, if your blood sugar is above 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal, it is considered above the normal range. What might cause your glucose or blood sugar to rise? Consider the following factors:
- Consuming more carbohydrates or a larger meal than usual
- Not taking enough insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrates or activity levels
- Reduced physical activity
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How Do I Prepare For The Plasma Glucose Level Test And How Are The Results Interpreted
To get an accurate plasma glucose level, you must have fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the test. When you report to the clinic or laboratory, a small sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm. According to the practice recommendations of the American Diabetes Association, the results of the blood test are interpreted as follows:
Fasting blood glucose level
- If your blood glucose level is 70 to 99* mg/dL . . .
- What it means: Your glucose level is within the normal range
*Values between 50 and 70 are often seen in healthy people
**The condition of prediabetes puts you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood lipid disorders
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/21/2018.
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Diagnosing Prediabetes Type 2 And Type 1 Diabetes
Depending on which country or medical organization you ask, the qualifying numbers for normal versus prediabetes versus diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes can vary slightly.
- HbA1c: 5.7 to 6.4 percent
- Fasting: 100 to 125 mg/dL
- 2 hours after a meal: 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL
Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- HbA1c: 6.5 percent or higher
- Fasting: 126 mg/dL or higher
- 2 hours after a meal: 200 mg/dL or higher
Please note:Type 1 diabetes tends to develop very quickly which means that by the time symptoms are felt, blood sugar levels are generally well above 200 mg/dL all the time. For many, symptoms come on so quickly that they are dismissed as the lingering flu or another seemingly ordinary virus.
By the time blood sugar levels are tested, many newly diagnosed type 1 patients will see levels above 400 mg/dL or higher. If you do suspect that you or a loved one has type 1 diabetes, visit your primary care or urgent care immediately and ask for a urine test to measure ketones in addition to testing blood sugar levels and A1c.
Read more about ketones at diagnosis in ourDiabetic Ketoacidosis Guide.