How Often Should You See Your Doctor If You Have Diabetes
Get your teeth and gums cleaned, and let your dentist know that you have diabetes. If youre meeting your treatment and blood sugar goals, have this test every 6 months. If youre meeting your treatment goals, visit your doctor every 6 months. Your blood pressure and weight will be checked, and your self-care plan and medicines will be reviewed.
Stay Away From Stimulants
Stimulants can affect your sleep cycle in a few different ways. Some stimulants have light addictive properties which create a decreased quality of sleep. Also, the brain needs time to wind down and feel relaxed for quality shut-eye so these drugs will not only make you anxious but theyll also keep you up at night with the inability to fall asleep. One of the well-known stimulants is caffeine that can be found in Cola, coffee, and some teas. Stay away from this and other stimulants before bedtime to have a more natural nights sleep.
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What A1c Goal Should I Have
People will have different A1C targets, depending on their diabetes history and their general health. You should discuss your A1C target with your health care professional. Studies have shown that some people with diabetes can reduce the risk of diabetes complications by keeping A1C levels below 7 percent.
Managing blood glucose early in the course of diabetes may provide benefits for many years to come. However, an A1C level that is safe for one person may not be safe for another. For example, keeping an A1C level below 7 percent may not be safe if it leads to problems with hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose.
Less strict blood glucose control, or an A1C between 7 and 8 percentor even higher in some circumstancesmay be appropriate in people who have
- limited life expectancy
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Non
Blood glucose levels arent just something diabetics have to monitor. Even if you havent been diagnosed with diabetes, you should be checking your levels regularly. The first step to managing it is by learning the range of normal blood sugar levels for non-diabetics.
Your pancreas constantly releases a steady, low level of insulin and appropriate blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and from person to person. Different carbohydrates spike people differently. In fact, a study in the journal Cell looked at the effect different kinds of carbs have on people. They found some people spiking high with a banana but not a cookie, while others can have the opposite reaction.
So, lets take a look at normal blood sugar levels for non-diabetics, how to track your blood sugar level and what you can do to control it.
Risks Of A High Hba1c Levels
HbA1c is an important marker because it can estimate the health risks associated with high blood sugar levels.
Studies show those who can lower their HbA1c by just 1% will :
- reduce their risk of neuropathy by 25%
- reduce their risk of retinopathy by 25%
- reduce their risk of diabetic nephropathy by 25%
- reduce their risk of heart failure by 15% for every 1% drop in HbA1c
- reduce their risk amputations and vascular disease by 43%
- reduce their risk of cataracts by 19%.
These numbers are based on observational data and therefore would vary somewhat between people. But they paint a powerful picture.
For example, reducing your HbA1c from 9% to 7% will cut your risk of neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy by half and almost all chance of vascular disease. Risk of heart failure and cataracts is also slashed by up to 38%.
Summary: HbA1c is a strong predictor of various major health issues related to diabetes.
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What Should I Do If My Glucose Levels Are Too High
You should establish a treatment plan with your doctor. You may be able to manage your glucose levels through diet and other lifestyle changes, like weight loss. Exercise can also help lower your glucose levels.
Medications may be added to your treatment if needed. Most people with type 2 diabetes will start on metformin as their first medication. There are many different types of diabetes medications that act in different ways.
Injecting insulin is one way to quickly reduce your glucose levels. Your doctor may prescribe insulin if you need help managing your glucose levels. Your doctor will determine your dosage and go over with you how to inject it, and when.
Let your doctor know if your glucose levels are consistently high. This could mean you need to take regular medication or make other changes to your diabetes treatment plan. Working with your doctor to get your glucose levels under control is important. Consistently high levels can lead to serious complications, like diabetic neuropathy or kidney failure.
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How To Lower Your Hba1c Levels
If your levels have gone above your target since your last check, its understandable to be worried. Even a slightly high HbA1c level puts you more at risk of developing serious complications in your body. But knowing your numbers and what that means is an important and good first step now you need to know how to lower them.
Lots of things can cause your HbA1c levels to change and theres action you and your healthcare team can take to bring them down to your target level:
- Your diabetes team may need to review your medication and increase the dose or try a new one.
- Ask them about local diabetes education courses there’s always more to learn with diabetes and a course will help you take practical steps to lower your HbA1c.
- Get more active moving more is good for everyone, but it can specifically help to bring down your HbA1c levels.
- Get advice on balanced, healthy eating.
- Stop smoking smoking makes it harder for blood to flow around your body.
And if you want to hear from others who are experiencing this too, think about joining our online forum. Its a place where you can chat to others or just read other peoples stories.
And dont forget, get advice from your healthcare team. Theyre here to help.
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Improving Hba1c And Diabetes Management
If youre showing signs of high blood sugars or have a high HbA1c level then there are many things you can try .
Regular exercise is very important, as is maintaining a healthy weight.
But Id argue that diet changes should be your first priority. Consider:
- reducing your carbohydrate intake
- and even eating more of these diabetes-friendly foods.
About Joe Leech, Dietitian
Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, followed by a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.
Learn more about him on the About page.
Joe Leech, Dietitian
Exceptions To The Rule
If test results are good and the condition is under control, some people with diabetes may be able to get the test done less frequently. However, standard recommendations say that diabetics should get the test no less than twice per year. Patients should know that some factors can skew results of the HbA1c test, such as anemia, high cholesterol, or taking vitamin C or E supplements.
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How Is Hba1c Used To Diagnose Gestational Diabetes
HbA1c testing in diagnosing diabetes. HbA1c is not used to diagnose gestational diabetes in the UK. Instead, an oral glucose tolerance test is used. A random blood glucose test will usually be used to diagnose type 1 diabetes. However, in some cases, an HbA1c test may be used to support a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
Ways To Lower A1c And Manage Your Blood
An A1C test measures the amount of glucose in your blood over the previous 12 weeks. This is important because it provides a long-term measure of blood-sugar levels, which are used to diagnose and manage diabetes or prediabetes.
Those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should have their A1C levels measured about every three months. If youre at an increased risk, you should have A1C measured twice a year, says Dr. Charles Richardson, the CEO of Cleveland Diabetes Care.
Through an A1C test, early detection of elevated blood-sugar levels can help reduce the risk of health complications from diabetes, like heart disease or kidney disease. Heres what you need to know about A1C levels and how to lower them.
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How Often Do You Need To Take An A1c Test
If your blood sugar levels have remained stable, the American Diabetes Association recommends getting the A1C test two times each year. If your therapy has changed or you are not meeting your glycemic targets, the ADA recommends getting the test four times per year. This simple blood draw can be done in your doctor’s office.
The A1C test results provide insight into how your treatment plan is working, and how it might be modified to better control the condition. Often your blood sample is sent out to a lab for your results though some doctors can use a point-of-care A1C test, where a finger stick can be done in the office, with results available in about 10 minutes. Such an in-office test can be used to monitor your condition.
Nonetheless, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that point-of-care tests should not be used for diagnosis, which can only be done by lab tests certified by the NGSP. Any results pointing to a change in your health should be confirmed by conventional lab tests.
Eat A Balanced Diet With Proper Portion Sizes
Its best to check with a certified diabetes care and education specialist or a registered dietitian-nutritionist to determine what a balanced diet and appropriate portions mean for you. But a great rule of thumb is to visualize your plate for every meal and aim to fill one-half of it with veggies, one-quarter with protein, and one-quarter with whole grains, says Turkel. If you like fruit, limit your portions to a small cup, eaten with a little protein or lean fat to help you digest the fruit carbohydrates in a manner that is less likely to spike your blood sugar level.
Also, avoid processed foods as much as possible, and say no to sugary sodas and fruit juice, which are high in carbs and calories, and thus can lead to spikes in blood sugar and contribute to weight gain, according to the ADA.
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How To Avoid Diabetic Ketoacidosis
It might have been a really long time since youve been in diabetic ketoacidosis , or maybe youve never had it.
But if you have Type 1 diabetes, you are at risk. Sometimes when you havent recently experienced a situation, you kind of forget about what you were told to do for prevention or treatment. Thats why a refresher might be a great idea!
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What Is A1c And An A1c Test
The NIHdefines hemoglobin A1c as a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Blood sugar binds to hemoglobin in the blood cells. If your blood sugar level is high, a large amount of it will attach to hemoglobin, which is why this test is commonly used to check and manage diabetes.
The A1c test, also known as a hemoglobin A1c test, measures the amount of blood sugar that is attached to hemoglobin. According to the NIH, this diabetes test measures average blood sugar levels over the last three months because three months is the average lifespan of a red blood cell. High HbA1c levels usually indicate that you have diabetes or that you have prediabetes that is close to progressing into diabetes.
What Is A1c And Why Is It Used
A1c estimates a persons average blood sugar levels over a 2 to 3-month span. It is the best measure we have of how well blood glucose is controlled and an indicator of diabetes management.
Though A1c doesnt provide day-to-day information, keeping A1c low has been proven to lower the risk of microvascular complications like kidney disease , vision loss , and nerve damage . The relationship between A1c and macrovascular complications like heart disease is harder to show in clinical trials, but having high blood sugar is a major risk factor for heart disease.
A1c is usually measured in a lab with routine blood work, or with a countertop machine in a doctors office using a fingerstick.
A1c measures the quantity of glycated hemoglobin, which refers to sugar attached to a red blood cell protein called hemoglobin. The number is reported as a percentage of the total hemoglobin in the blood. If a person consistently has higher blood glucose levels over time, A1c levels go up because more red blood cells are coated with sugar. The test is representative of a 2 to 3-month average because once a red blood cell becomes coated with sugar, the link is irreversible. It is only when the red blood cell is “recycled” that the sugar coating disappears.
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What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about your average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test can be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.1 The A1C test is also the primary test used for diabetes management.
The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches to or binds with hemoglobin in your blood cells, and the A1C test is based on this attachment of glucose to hemoglobin.
The higher the glucose level in your bloodstream, the more glucose will attach to the hemoglobin. The A1C test measures the amount of hemoglobin with attached glucose and reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.
The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.
How To Lower A1c
Your A1C levels are lowered when you reduce your average blood-glucose levels. This can be done through lifestyle changes and medication.
With a multidisciplinary approach including optimal nutrition, implementing an exercise regimen, and diabetic medication, most patients can lower the hemoglobin A1C, Richardson says.
Here are a few of the most effective ways to lower your A1C levels:
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Fasting Blood Glucose Level Test Preparation
What should you do if your doctor orders a fasting blood sugar test? The preparation is the same as when you take a fasting test for cholesterol. First, be sure to find out if you need to schedule an appointment for your test . Ask your doctor what time is best to take it.
- Schedule your test if necessary
- Ask your doctor if you need to change any of the medications you take on the morning of the test
- If you normally drink coffee or have caffeine, ask your doctor if that is okay. It may not be, since it affects blood sugar levels
- Fast for at least 8 hours before your test. Usually, an overnight fast is most convenient
- You can drink water
Lifestyle Tips To Help Maintain Good A1c Levels
Heres the good news: There are lots of different ways to lower your A1c without medication. Well review some below:
Change what youre eating: This is a big one. Your A1c will naturally drop if youre able to eat less of certain foods and more of other foods .
Move your body: Exercise is a great tool to improve your overall health. And it can help to lower your A1c.
Lose unwanted weight: Weight loss isnt easy. But it can be an effective way to improve the way your body regulates blood glucose levels.
Find support in your community: Diabetes is common. Chances are that there are people in your community who have faced similar health challenges and can support you in your journey.
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Translating Your A1c To A Blood Sugar Level
Using this easy calculator from the ADA, you can translate your most recent A1C result to an eAG or estimate average glucose level.
You can also use this translation when working to improve your A1c and achieving closer to normal blood sugar levels. If you know an A1c of 6.5 is an average blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or a range of 100 to 152 mg/dL, then you can look at your current blood sugar results on your CGM and meter and pinpoint which time of day youre frequently higher than this range.12% = 298 mg/dL or range of 240 347 11% = 269 mg/dL or range of 217 31410% = 240 mg/dL or range of 193 2829% = 212 mg/dL or range of 170 2498% = 183 mg/dL or range of 147 2177% = 154 mg/dL or range of 123 1856% = 126 mg/dL or range of 100 1525% = 97 mg/dL or range of 76 120
Normal blood sugar levels in a person without diabetes can result in an A1c as low as 4.6 or 4.7 percent and as high as 5.6 percent.
Just a decade or two ago, it was rare for a person with type 1 diabetes to achieve an A1c result below 6 percent. Thanks to new and improved insulin and better technology like continuous glucose monitors and smarter insulin pumps, more people with diabetes are able to safely achieve A1c levels in the higher 5 percent range.