Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition that can have grave effects on your health if it is not managed properly. If you have this illness, you already know that your pancreas is not producing any insulin (type 1 diabetes), or it is not producing enough insulin or that your body isnât responding to the insulin that it does produce (type 2 diabetes). As a result, your blood sugar levels can spiral out of control, which has the potential to be life-threatening.Â
The good news is that if diabetes is properly managed, it doesnât have to destroy your health and take over your life. Routine testing is an important step in ensuring you are managing your type 1 or 2 diabetes effectively. The A1C test is one of the most commonly used tests for diabetics.Â
The A1C Test Explained
The hemoglobin A1C test (often referred to simply as the A1C test), is a blood test that is used to measure average blood glucose levels over the span of two or three month period. Itâs used to get a better understanding of how well your diabetes is being managed. It can also be used as a tool to find out if type 2 diabetes has developed in pre-diabetics.Â
The blood sugar information provided by the A1C test is showcased in a percentage. The higher the percentage the results of the test reveal, the higher your blood sugar levels are, which means that your risk for either developing type 2 diabetes or developing complications if you have already been diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes are higher
How does the A1C Test Work?Â
The A1C test can be used to measure the effectiveness of treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This test can also be used to determine if you are at an increased risk for developing diabetes.Â
The A1C test assesses the amount of glucose (sugar) that is attached to your hemoglobin, the protein that red blood cells are made up of. The greater the amount of glucose is attached to it, the higher the results of your A1C test will be. If the results are 5.7 percent or lower, your blood glucose levels are considered to be in the normal range. If your score is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, your risk for developing type 2 diabetes is higher. If your score is greater than 6.5 percent, it is very likely that you will receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. If you already have been diagnosed with diabetes and your score is 5.7 percent or higher, efforts for managing your condition are not effective and your risk for developing complications are higher.Â
Ways to Lower Your A1C Score
The good news is that there are ways that you can lower your A1C score, and in turn, reduce your chances for developing type 2 diabetes or complications associated with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.Â
Here are some effective ways to lower your A1C score.Â
If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, making changes to your diet is important. Eating foods that are low in carbohydrates can help reduce your blood sugar levels, and thus your A1C score. Aim to eat a balanced meals consisting of lean meats, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables in appropriate portion sizes.Â
Donât make the mistake of skipping meals or letting large periods of time pass between each mean. Doing so can have serious consequences on your blood sugar levels, as it can make your levels drastically rise and fall. Speak to your doctor to establish a meal schedule that works for you, your lifestyle, and your diabetes.Â
Investigate Diabetes Medications
If you are not already taking diabetes medications for A1C reduction, you might want to consider talking to your doctor about them. There are several medications available for diabetics that aim to reduce blood sugar levels, including insulin, amylinomimetic medications, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, and DPP4 inhibitors. These are just some of the options available. Your doctor will determine which medications for A1C reduction are suitable for your needs.Â
If you are already taking diabetes medications and your A1C test results are high, talk to your doctor about making changes to your dosages, or possibly switching the type of medication you are taking.
Regular exercise is an important part of a diabetes management plan. It helps with weight management, which can keep your blood sugar levels under control and lower your A1C score. You donât have to do intense exercises (unless you want to!); simple activities that get you moving can be highly effective. Walking, playing sports, bike riding, or swimming are some simple and enjoyable activities that will get you moving an help to keep your blood sugar under control, and thus lower your A1C score.Â
Stay on Track with Your Blood Sugar
Ask your doctor if checking your blood sugar levels is a good idea. If so, find out how often you should be checking them.Â
Keeping track of your blood sugar with routine testing can be a very effective way to manage your diabetes, or prevent you from developing the condition.Â
Stick to Your Treatment Plant
Sticking with your treatment plan is extremely important. Together, you and your doctor can determine the most effective plan and measures that you should be taking in order to effectively manage your blood sugar levels and your diabetes.
The Bottom Line
Just because you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic doesnât mean that your diagnoses has to rule your life. You can take control of your health and your blood sugar levels by following the above-mentioned recommendations. As always, make sure you keep in regular contact with your doctor.Â
There is nothing more important than your health. By managing your diabetes, you can keep your health on track.Â
Even science has shown in research how you can properly gain an advantage over your disease with training.
Long-term regular physical activity training was found to be helpful in improving glycemic control, body composition and cardiovascular fitness among patients with T2DM. Long-term continuous physical activity offsets the deteriorations of biological indicators found in the control group. Further research, with a particular focus on practical and real-world programming, is needed to determine the responsive health outcomes of such long-term programs on the patients.[ncbi]
Stress is a large factor
Many people struggle with juggling responsibilities in life. This can increase stress levels and in hand cause detriment to your health. Healthline does a great job at providing a few ways to lower your a1c by mitigating stress.
The impact of sweeteners can sneak up on your body and cause much distress for someone with health problems.
All refined sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and their products (soft drinks, sweets, toffees, etc.) and honey should be avoided, except during severe illness or episodes of hypoglycemia. These foods contain simple sugar, which is easily absorbed causing rapid rise in blood sugar.
Non-nutritive sweeteners, e.g., Canderel, saccharine, NutraSweet, aspartame are suitable sugar substitutes for diabetic subjects.[ncbi]
If you are trying to lose weight relatively quickly, youâve probably heard of the Atkins diet.Â
This diet was created by Robert C Atkins, a cardiologist, in the 1960s. It focuses on restricting the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the intake of foods that are high in healthy fats and proteins. Several scientific studies have examined the effects of a low-carb diet and have proven that it is an effective way to lose weight. Thatâs because the less carbs you eat and the more protein you ingest, the less hungry you will be (because protein is satiating for a long period of time). The less you eat, the less calories you consume, which translates to weight loss.Â
In addition to weight loss, one of the biggest attractions of the Atkins diet is that you donât have to constantly count your calories, which is something that you have to do with so many other diet plans. This makes the Atkins diet a much easier way to shed pounds.Â
If youâre thinking about going on the Atkins diet, you are going to have to familiarize yourself with the types of foods that are recommended on this plan. To help get you started on the right foot, hereâs a look at some of the most Atkins-friendly foods that you should make a regular part of your diet.Â
Poultry, Seafood, and Meat
Most types of meat, poultry, and seafood do not contain any carbs, yet they contain a high amount of proteins. Thatâs why they are such a staple in the Atkins diet. By eating more poultry, seafood, and meat, you will feel fuller longer, and you wonât be taking in much â if any â carbohydrates.Â
The following meats are ideal for the Atkins diet:Â
These are just some of the options that are Atkins-friendly. However, it should be noted that not all meat, seafood, and poultry are low in carbs; deli meat and other types of processed meats, poultry, and seafood tend to have a lot of starch in them, so they arenât a good choice for this diet. Make sure you read food labels to ensure that the foods you are selecting really are low carb and good for the Atkins diet.Â
When you first start the Atkins diet, you should be eating a total of 15 carbs from veggies a day. Veggies that are low in carbs, and thus Atkins-friendly, include:Â
There are many cheeses that are low on carbs. In fact, the majority of cheeses have less than 1 gram of carbohydrates per ounce. During the first few weeks of the Atkins diet, you can consume up to 4 ounces of cheese each day. However, not all cheeses are low in carbs, such as cottage cheese, so make sure you check the labels before purchasing.Â
Some of the best cheeses for the Atkins diet include:
Cream cheese (yes, cream cheese!)
Eggs are definitely an Atkins-friendly food. They are very low in carbs; in fact, a single large hardboiled egg only contains about 0.6 grams of carbohydrates. They are also packed with protein and healthy, monounsaturated fats. This means that they can fill you up for a long time, making them the ideal food for the Atkins diet.Â
There are so many ways that you can enjoy eggs. Some options include:Â
Sunny side up
In an omelet (witch an Atkins-friendly cheese and veggie)
Eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack!
Herbs and Spices
The majority of herbs and spices contain very little, if any, carbohydrates, making most of them a suitable choice for the Atkins diet. Another benefit: they increase your metabolism, which can help with your weight loss goals.Â
Some of the herbs and spices that you should consider including in your Atkins diet menu include:Â
Mix them into dishes that contain meat, poultry, and seafood, eggs, and veggies to add some extra flavor.Â
Oils and Fats
A lot of diets require you to give up oils and fats; however, thatâs not the case with the Atkins diet. In fact, there are a number of oils and fats that you can consume on this diet that will aide in your weight loss. Thatâs because they are low in carbohydrates and high in protein.Â
Some of the best oils and fats that you can include in your Atkins diet menu include:Â
Coconut oil (organic varieties are the best)
Grass-fed, organic butter
Cold pressed olive oil
Full fat mayonnaise with no sugar added
Medium-chain triglyceride oils (MCTs)
You can use these oils and fats for cooking, or you can use them to add flavor to your dishes. For example, you can drizzle cold-pressed olive oil on top of a salad made with Atkins-friendly veggies, or you can use grass-fed organic butter to add flavor to soft boiled eggs.Â
When youâre trying to lose weight, you also have to watch what youâre drinking; something that many people overlook. There are plenty of beverages that are considered acceptable for the Atkins diet. Options include:Â
Water (non-carbonated or carbonated)
Diet sodas that are sweetened with sucralose
There are so many foods and beverages that you can enjoy on the Atkins diet and still lose weight, which is one of the reasons why this diet is so appealing and has been proven to be successful for so many people.Â
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