When you develop diabetes, your life completely changes. It is a lifestyle disease, which requires you to change all of your eating habits. You also have to incorporate an exercise regimen as well.
But not only does your daily food intake changes, but you must also use certain tools and take certain tests to help you lead a more healthy lifestyle. You might also find yourself having to use the services of healthcare practitioners until your situation is normalized.
However, one of the support tools, which most diabetics in America, have access to is a blood sugar testing machine.
This takes a blood sample and analyzes whether your blood glucose levels are high or not. Depending on which machine you use the results will be shown differently.
If you have a very unstable blood sugar level, you are required to take the test multiple times for the day.
Health care staff does this for you as well, but it can become very expensive paying for such a test, so often. Also, the easiest way to know your levels and whether what you are eating and how much you are eating is in the safe zone is to do your test from home.
Learn More about the A1C Test
Now, another test that can be administered more infrequently is the hemoglobin A1C test or an A1C test. This test captures what your levels have been for up to three months.
Doctors can tell whether you have been naughty or nice.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the test is helpful to manage your diabetes in a number of ways. This includes:
This is why it is important to have the test at least twice a year. No, you do not have to go to the Emergency Room. It is easy for your doctor to do this right there in his office.
The Meaning of Your A1C Results
In terms of how this test works, the ADA says, “Hemoglobin, a protein that links up with sugars such as glucose, is found inside red blood cells. Its job is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all the cells of the body. Glucose enters your red blood cells and links up (or glycates) with molecules of hemoglobin.”
Your hemoglobin gets glycated if there is an elevated level of glucose in your blood.
“By measuring the percentage of A1C in the blood, you get an overview of your average blood glucose control for the past few months. Your doctor should measure your A1C level at least twice a year.”
If you get a 5.7 percent or lower on your A1C test, then it means your levels are normal. However, if you have fallen into the range of 5.7 and 6.4, it means you are considered a pre-diabetic.
Try not to get into the range of over 6.5 percent. This means you have type 2 diabetes.
If you have the disease full-blown, the goal is to get you in the 5.7 percent or lower range to lessen the likelihood of you suffering severe eye problems, nerve damage, and other diabetes complications.
So, if you have been naughty, here is how to lower A1C.
How to Lower A1C
So sure, taking the test helps you to monitor your levels. However, if your blood sugar levels are high, there are ways to get them under control.
Keep in mind that trying to corral diabetes is no mere feat. It is a difficult health condition to manage. It requires discipline and persistence. You basically have to look at it like a24 hour job.
All hands on deck, all the time!
You must develop a health regimen. You must have a diabetes diet. And, if you are serious about getting healthy, you must incorporate daily exercise.
If you are serious about making a positive change and understanding how to lower A1C, continue reading.
1. Get Your Activity Levels Up!
All you have to do is move more. That translates to about exercising for 30 minutes each day. So, you can decide to talk a walk, play with your favorite pooch or hit the gym five days a week.
If you prefer biking, do that. If you prefer swimming, do that. If you prefer jumping jacks, do that!
All you need to do is keep active all during the week and shed your sedentary lifestyle.
2. Portion Control
photo credits from unsplash
Diabetes control is linked to food control. You have to watch what you eat and how much you eat. Try to have a balanced diet, and you will be well on your way to lowering your A1C.
Non-starchy foods like vegetables are the way to go. However, you have to watch how much potatoes, bread, fats, lean proteins, and even fruits you are consuming.
Understanding serving sizes are the best way to make this task easier. If you look on the back of product labels, this information is usually displayed.
One of the safest ways to fix your diet is to eat more salads. Also, a keen trick is to buy smaller plates and cups. If you do, it automatically means that when you serve your foods and drinks in these, you eat less.
See, it is not that hard!
You should also eliminate processed foods from your diet. Try to prepare your own meals. Stick to baking, broiling or grilling what you eat, and avoid fried foods as much as possible.
Enlisting the help of a dietitian or nutritionist will make it easier.
3. Follow an Eating Schedule
Your days of skipping meals are over!
With diabetes, you cannot go hungry. And further to that, what helps is having specific times when you have something to eat. Any deviation from this usually means that your blood sugar levels are always spiking or going too low.
Diabetes control management works best when you can keep your blood sugar levels from doing this.
Also, when you miss meals, you tend to overeat.
So set up an eating schedule and stick to it. Again, a dietitian or nutritionist can help you with something like this.
4. Stick to Your Treatment Plan
No two persons are the same. As such, no two treatment plans are the same. You need to have your health care practitioner develop a treatment plan for you.
If there are any changes in your lifestyle and especially your eating habits and blood sugar results, consult your doctor.
5. Ensure That You Do Your Blood Sugar Tests
Your doctor usually is able to inform you of how often you should check your levels. Because A1C levels are integral to your diabetes care, you need to track this frequently.
You will see that many of your doctor’s visits will surround this key issue.
And if you are uncertain of anything having to do with A1C, do not be afraid to ask your doctor questions during that time as well.
You Can’t Do It Alone
One popular saying is about “It Takes a village.” Well, this can be said about fighting diabetes. You need a qualified team to help you understand every aspect.
That is why we are here! But you also need people like your medical doctor and a dietitian.
Understand that especially as it relates to food control and food preparation, a dietitian can help you to get a handle on that very quickly.
According to the ADA, “A registered dietitian (RD) is trained in nutrition and has passed a national exam. An RD may also have a master's degree or maybe a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). You want to be sure to work with an RD who has training and experience with diabetes. If your doctor does not work with a dietitian, ask him to refer you to one.”
When it comes to figuring out how to lower A1C, they make the job easier.
They tend to help you to make food substitutions, find good cookbooks, plan for eating out, read food labels, include ethnic or foreign foods and even balance food with medications and activity.