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 isn’t 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.
The good news is that if diabetes is properly managed, it doesn’t 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.
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. It’s 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Here are some effective ways to lower your A1C score.
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.
Don’t 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.
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.
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 don’t 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.
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.
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.
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.