Managing your diabetes doesn’t have to be hard. Whether you’re living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, getting your blood sugar under control is made much easier with regular A1C testing. In this article, we will take a closer look at how you can bring your A1C levels down with regular testing.
What is an A1C Test?
A1C is one of the initial methods used to test for and diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The test measures how much glucose (sugar) is attached to hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells. The more glucose that is attached, the higher your A1C level will be.
A normal A1C is 5.6 percent or less. If your score is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, you’ll be diagnosed with prediabetes. This means you’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes within a decade. If your A1C is 6.5 percent or higher, you’ll receive a diabetes diagnosis.[i]
How to Lower Your A1C Levels
If you’ve just been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s important to remember that lowering your A1C levels is a gradual process. Unlike your finger-prick glucose test, A1C measures your average blood sugar over a period of months. In most cases, it takes two to three months to notice a major change in your A1C.[ii]
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to lower your levels.
1. Test Regularly
Bringing your A1C levels down is all about sticking to a regular testing schedule. This will allow you to see if what you’re doing with your diet and activity level is working. It will also help your doctor to see if medication is necessary or if the medication or insulin, you’re already using is working well for you.[iii]
In short, A1C tests can be a vital part of helping you to manage your diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels in check.
2. Eat Well
The key to healthy eating is to consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat milk products and lean meat or meat alternatives. Use healthy fats such as olive oil or nut butter in moderation and avoid trans fat. Although it’s OK to treat yourself on occasion, you should largely avoid sugary drinks like juice and pop, take out, junk food and desserts. When you do indulge, watch your portion size.
3. Track What You Eat
The most important elements to track in your meals are your carbohydrate and sugar intake. While it’s likely obvious why you need to limit sugar, it’s not quite so evident why too many carbs can be a problem.
Your body breaks carbs down into sugar that, in turn, raises your blood sugar levels. Carbs can be found in many foods such as breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, legumes and starchier vegetables like corn and carrots. Fruit, milk and milk alternatives as well as sweets and prepared foods also contain carbs.
To discover how many carbs you need to consume during the day — and how much is too much — track what you eat and drink each day. Measuring your food can help you to be accurate about portion sizes. Record the grams of carbs in what you’re eating using food packages, restaurant fact sheets and websites.
Once you see how the carbs you’re eating is impacting your blood sugar, you can adjust accordingly.[iv]
4. Get Active
Regular exercise improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin and that can help you manage your blood sugar levels.[v]
To be effective, the physical activity must be done at enough intensity to improve your fitness. Aerobic and resistance exercise are equally important for people living with diabetes. Brisk walking, swimming, jogging or any other activity that elevates breathing and heart rate is considered aerobic exercise. Resistance training involves weights, resistance bands or using your own body weight (push ups or squats, for instance) to build muscle strength.
When exercise becomes a regular part of your life, you not only become fitter and stronger, you improve your blood sugar, blood fats and blood pressure. You also reduce the likelihood of complications from diabetes such as heart disease.
Here at MediSure, we want to help you live the healthiest life possible. As a Canadian medical device company dedicated to making diabetic care more affordable, MediSure’s products are designed both to be durable and to provide a user-friendly experience and an overall improved approach to diabetes management. Whether you need a blood glucose monitor or blood glucose test kit, our products can make testing less painful and less cumbersome. Try out our diabetic meters and test strips to see and feel the MediSure difference.
[i] 6 Ways to Lower Your A1C Level. Available:https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/ways-to-lower-your-a1c-level. [Accessed: 2020-11-24]
[ii] 6 Ways to Lower Your A1C Level. Available:https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/ways-to-lower-your-a1c-level. [Accessed: 2020-11-24]
[iii] 6 Ways to Lower Your A1C Level. Available:https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/ways-to-lower-your-a1c-level. [Accessed: 2020-11-24]
[iv] Basic Carbohydrate Counting. Available: https://www.diabetes.ca/DiabetesCanadaWebsite/media/Managing-My-Diabetes/Tools%20and%20Resources/basic-carbohydrate-counting.pdf?ext=.pdf. [Accessed: 2020-11-24]
[v] Exercise and Activity. Available: https://www.diabetes.ca/nutrition—fitness/exercise—activity. [Accessed: 2020-11-24]