How Do You Manage Blood Sugar
It’s not easy to manage your blood sugar, but it’s important to do so if you have diabetes. There are many things you can do to keep your blood sugar levels in the healthy range.
The first step is to understand what causes your blood sugar levels to go up and down. This will help you make choices that keep your blood sugar levels within your target range.
Finally: A1c Is Also Defined As Estimated Average Glucose Or Eag
Another term you may come across when finding out your A1C is eAG. Your doctor might report your A1C results as eAG. eAG is similar to what you see when monitoring your blood sugar at home on your meter. However, because you are more likely to check your blood sugar in the morning and before meals, your meter readings will likely be lower than your eAG.
How To Lower Hba1c And Blood Glucose Levels
Adopt a more vegetarian diet, including beans & nuts
Vegetarian diets are inversely associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In a meta analysis comparing nine different experiments, researchers found that vegetarian diets consistently improved fasting blood glucose and HbA1c. Why? They generally emphasize a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, and lower levels of saturated and trans fat. Plus, beans often replace meat in these diets by acting as a protein source. Thanks to their high fiber content and low glycemic index , beans stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels. So individuals with type 2 diabetes may notice significantly lower A1c levels if they increase their bean intake to at least one cup per day. Similar to beans, nuts are low glycemic and help regulate blood sugar levels. In a recent experiment, people who replaced some of their food with a serving of nuts saw improved glycemic control and HbA1c levels. On a grander scale, eating nuts has an inverse association with type 2 diabetesthat is, people who include nuts in their daily lives tend to have a lower risk of developing diabetes.
Exercise is a crucial component in managing glucose and insulin levels. It directly improves blood glucose control, increases insulin sensitivity, and helps maintain a healthy weight. Exercise is a very effective tool in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.
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What Is It Used For
An A1C test may be used to screen for or diagnose:
- Type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes your blood glucose gets too high because your body doesn’t make enough insulin to move blood sugar from your bloodstream into your cells, or because your cells stop responding to insulin.
- Prediabetes. Prediabetes means that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnosed as diabetes. Lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and exercise, may help delay or prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, an A1C test can help monitor your condition and check how well you’ve been able to control your blood sugar levels.
Eat A Balanced Diet With Proper Portion Sizes
Its best to check with a CDCES or registered dietitian/nutritionist to determine what a balanced diet and appropriate portion sizes mean for you. But a great rule of thumb is to fill half of your plate with veggies, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with whole grains, says Turkel. If you like fruit, limit your portion to a small cup, eaten with a little protein or lean fat to help you digest the carbohydrates in a way that is less likely to spike your blood sugar.
Also, avoid processed foods as much as possible, and try to avoid 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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Control A1c Levels For Children And Adolescents
A1C goal levels chart for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes and average Serum glucose levels.A1c goal to be less than 7.5% .Blood glucose before meals to be 90130 mg/dL Glucose level at bedtime/overnight to be 90150 mg/dL .These goals should be modified to a lower goal in children with frequent hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia unawareness.Its helpful to individualize these goals under benefit-risk assessment to assess preprandial insulin doses in those on basal-bolus or pump regimens.
What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Level For Teens
Teenagers are recommended to have a blood sugar range between 70-150 mg/dL. It’s not easy for a teenager to maintain a tight range, therefore it’s important to aim for these numbers to give them a bit more flexibility.
- Fasting: 70-150 mg/dL
- Preprandial : 90-130 mg/dL
- Postprandial : Less than 140 mg/dL
- Bedtime: 90-150 mg/dL
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What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Level For Kids
Blood sugar levels can vary based on age. Children younger than 6 have a different normal blood sugar level range than adults.
The American Diabetes Association provides the following ranges as a guide:
- Fasting: 80-180 mg/dL
- Preprandial : 100-180 mg/dL
- Postprandial : Less than 180 mg/dL
- Bedtime: 110-200 mg/dL
What Blood Sugar Goals Should I Be Aiming For
The American Diabetes Association recommends that most people with diabetes aim for the following blood sugar goals:
- Preprandial : 80-130 mg/dL
- Postprandial : Less than 180 mg/dL
Your doctor will likely set different goals for you based on many factors including your age, how long you’ve had diabetes, other health problems you have.
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How Often Should You Have An A1c Lab Test
Your healthcare provider may order an A1C test every three months to monitor diabetes treatment changes, such as adjustments to medications, insulin pump settings, or other areas of diabetes self-management. If your blood glucose is within range and stable, your healthcare provider may only order the test every six months.
If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, sometimes A1C is used along with other measures to help diagnose diabetes. It may also be used as a baseline measurement for people with a strong family history of diabetes or other risk factors to see if levels are increasing over time.
Why The A1c Test And A1c Average Blood Sugar Chart Are Important
The A1c blood test can detect ones average blood sugar level for the past three months. And the A1c Test Blood Sugar Chart also helps compare the result with the ordinary sugar levels.
Managing Blood Sugar
Blood sugar or glucose means the amount of glucose that remains in blood at a given time. So, regularly checking your blood sugar levels is very important. A quick measurement of blood glucose at a given time will determine if it is too high or low.
One can also determine how ones lifestyle, as well as medication, is affecting the blood glucose levels. Thus, it can help create and organize a proper lifestyle plan and diet to maintain the blood sugar level.
Identification of Prediabetics
Through the A1c blood test, the doctor can identify if anyone can get diabetes soon. This test can help alert the individual to take primary care to avoid cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Diagnosing type 1 and type 2 Diabetes
A1c blood tests help to diagnose type one and type 2 diabetes. It may require two A1c tests or one A1c test and another blood test to confirm the disease.
- Monitoring Diabetes Treatment
The first A1c blood test result will set a baseline of A1c level for you. After that, the test should get repeated from time to time to keep track of your sugar level.
The test will alert you if your sugar level gets higher. So, one should take the A1c test regularly. Because it will help you monitor the diabetes treatment plan.
How Often an A1c Test Is Needed
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High A1c With Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
If you do have symptoms of high blood sugar and your initial A1C is high, this will confirm a diabetes diagnosisâespecially if you also had the random plasma glucose test done and that was high.
This means that your healthcare provider will need to see you as soon as possible to discuss starting a treatment plan to manage your diabetes.
This plan will depend on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but may involve insulin supplementation, medication, glucose monitoring, exercise, and lifestyle changes.
Your healthcare provider will likely repeat the A1C soon after youve started treatment to see how its working and how well youre complying.
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How To Test Your A1c
Your doctor or endocrinologist should test your A1c regularly . The doctor simply pricks your finger and takes a tiny blood sample. If the doctors office has an A1c kit, you should get your result before your consultation is over.
You can also buy home A1c kits and do the test yourself. Home A1c kits can be useful if you go for more than three months between doctor visits and want to keep an eye on how your A1c is developing yourself.
The home kits are generally accurate within plus/minus 0.5 percentage points, which is more than good enough to give you a trustworthy result. The downside of the home kits is that they require a larger amount of blood than a regular blood sugar test, and if you dont apply enough blood, youll get an error message and will have lost a test strip.
You can find and in some pharmacies.
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What Is My A1c Goal What Is A Good A1c
Typically if A1c is above 5.7% but less than 6.5% is called prediabetes. If A1c is more than 6.5%, then that is called diabetes. The goal of diabetes control depends on the patient. Some patients goal is less than 6.5%, and for some others, it is less than 8%. Your diabetes specialist/endocrinologist will determine your target. The goal is determined based on multiple clinical factors. Make sure that you discuss your A1c target with your diabetes specialist and endocrinologist, and understand your goals clearly. For example, it may be unreasonable for an 85-year-old patient who has had diabetes for 20 years to ask for an A1c target of less than 6%. It is also absurd to target for 7.5% A1c in a 30-year-old overall healthy individual. So we determine A1c goal by multiple clinical factors such as life expectancy, duration of diabetes, risk of hypoglycemia , presence of advanced diabetes complications such as the history of heart attacks and strokes, chronic kidney disease, neuropathy and retinopathy .
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.
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Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The oral glucose tolerance test takes a little more time than the other two glucose tests for diabetes. In this test, your blood is taken after an overnight fast, and then again two hours after you drink a sugary drink.
Its normal for blood sugar to rise after the drink. Normal blood sugar falls to below 140 mg/dL within two hours, however.
If your blood sugar is between 140 and 199 mg/dL, your doctor will diagnose prediabetes. Anything 200 mg/dL or above is diagnostic for type 2 diabetes.
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You should have healthy fats each day as well.
Using the information from your food log, you can begin to make small changes. The goal is to choose less processed, whole foods, instead of highly processed foods that contain added sugar, little fiber, and unhealthy fats.
For example, if you arent eating the recommended servings of vegetables, try adding one serving of vegetables a day to your diet.
You can do this by having a salad with lunch or dinner, or snacking on carrot sticks. Just be careful about add-ons such as salad dressing or dips. They can sneak in unhealthy fats or extra calories. Check out these 10 healthy salad dressing recipes.
Youll also want to work on reducing the number of empty-calorie foods and beverages youre consuming, as well as switching out simple carbohydrate foods for complex carbohydrates. Examples of substitutions you can try to include:
Is The A1c Test Used During Pregnancy
Health care professionals may use the A1C test early in pregnancy to see if a woman with risk factors had undiagnosed diabetes before becoming pregnant. Since the A1C test reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months, testing early in pregnancy may include values reflecting time before you were pregnant. The glucose challenge test or the oral glucose tolerance test are used to check for gestational diabetes, usually between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you had gestational diabetes, you should be tested for diabetes no later than 12 weeks after your baby is born. If your blood glucose is still high, you may have type 2 diabetes. Even if your blood glucose is normal, you still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the future and should get tested every 3 years.
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Is The A1c Test Accurate For Everyone
Since the A1C test has been made available , is has become a common way to measure glucose control. However, in the last several years some questions have been raised about potential limitations of A1C:
- Is the A1C accurate for everyone?
- It may not be accurate for some people, including people of African-American descent, people with liver and kidney disease, or with some anemias and sickle cell disease.
Low Blood Sugar Level Causes
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Can This Test Be Used During Pregnancy
Although the A1c test can be useful in the early pregnancy to diagnose if improvement has diabetes before pregnancy, A1c testing is typically not very correct during the pregnancy due to changes in hemoglobin and expansion and blood volume. Typically your endocrinologist will use glucose tolerance test and follow you with glucose testing with fingersticks or continuous glucose monitoring systems.
The bottom line
Endocrinologists and primary care doctors, commonly use this test to diagnose and treat and monitor diabetes. It reflects average blood sugars within the last 3 months. This is because the test relies on hemoglobin turnover that is typically 3 months. If there are problems in your red blood cells or hemoglobin due to a variety of situations we have discussed above, the test may not be reliable. There are also many caveats that diabetes specialists, as well as diabetic patients, should be mindful of when interpreting test results.
About the author: Dr. Ergin operates a large diabetes practice mostly in West Palm Beach, FL, and yet can see diabetic patients across the entire state of Florida via a unique telehealth platform which also allows him to track patient progress and be available at all times. Soon to be available in NY and NJ.
2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd
Ste 212 unit 7
West Palm Beach, FL
How Does Age Affect A1c
A1c is a measure of diabetes management, so your A1c wont naturally shift as you get older. However, as you age your diabetes management strategies and A1c goals may change for example, younger people may be more focused on reducing long-term health complications, while older people may concentrate on avoiding severe lows. Talk with your healthcare professional if youre curious about how your age may affect your A1c levels.
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