High A1C numbers mean there are more chances for developing diabetes complications that damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. It may end up in heart attack, stroke, kidney dialysis, blindness, or amputation.
What should be your A1C number?
Most people with diabetes should aim to have an A1C of below 7. Lower A1C is better if you can achieve it without any hypoglycemia risk. If you cannot be able to identify your early symptoms of low blood sugars, then you should aim for higher-end A1C number. Discuss with your health profession to help you set a right A1C goal for you.
Right A1C number for you is based on your age, ability of identify hypoglycemia, frequency of hypoglycemia episodes, other health conditions you have, and expected life span.
If your A1C is high, how do you lower A1C?
Firstly, do not get to discourage over your numbers. Trends are more concerning than single test.
- Find the influencing factors - numerous things can influence your blood sugars such as mood, new routines, foods, illness and weather. Try figure out anything you might change recently.
- Proper diet – healthy diabetes diet is necessary for effective blood-glucose management. Calculate your daily calorie's requirement, distribute these calories throughout the day, decide how much carb best for you, learn carbohydrate counting in your meals, take good carbohydrates, know the glycemic index of carb foods (prefer low glycemic index foods such as beans, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, etc.). Try achieving your target by changing your diet, their combination, timing and/or its frequency.
- Low-carb or high-carb diet - If you are on the low-carb diet, then you could spikes late from protein or fat, which you may miss in home testing. Low-carb diet will reduce your metabolic rate, which is important to maintain burning rate of glucose in muscle tissue and so forth. With a sufficient burn rate, you can be able to consume excessive blood glucose and makes it easier to handle blood-glucose level. Therefore, restricting carbs is fine making it 100g of carbs per day not 30g.
- Breakfast - When you do not have breakfast on time, you may notice a blood sugar spike. Whether taking your breakfast in time could stop it? If your answer is yes, you can lower your A1C by taking your breakfast in time all days without skipping.
- Foods to lower A1C - Certain things can naturally lower your A1C; they are onions, garlic, red wine, and fish.
- Physical activity works like a natural medicine - it can lower insulin resistance and moves the blood sugar better into the muscles. Burning more sugars can help lower blood glucose and A1C. Diabetes exercise makes you physically as well as mentally feels better and stresses free. This peaceful state helps lower blood-glucose spikes.
- Losing weight - can help reduce insulin resistance or increase insulin sensitivity thus drops blood-sugar level and A1C. Many studies have confirmed that losing weight can help your insulin or medicines to work better, need lesser medication, improves blood-glucose levels, lower A1C, reduce the risk for diabetes complication, high cholesterol, hypertension, etc. Even just 5 to 10% weight loss will make a huge health benefit.
- Be stress free to lower A1C - stress, depression, anger, anxiety, panic, illness can raise your glucose level and A1C. Stress put you on fight or flee response mode; your number becomes crazy and would not be able to stabilize. Many studies confirm that negative mind affects your number even if you are perfect in other things. Put maximum efforts to bring back your positive mind this will make a huge benefit not only attaining optimal A1C, and improved overall wellness. So keep yourself-cool by involving yourself in music, dancing, aerobics, yoga, meditation, etc.
- Start from beginning - Like math, if there is any mistake instead of try correcting, start from the basics. Completely start again with determining your basal and bolus rates. Most important is the basal rate as having this set right is important to avoid both highs & lows and is the foundation on which the bolus dosing works.
- Change treatment - Sometimes changing the insulin-treatment dosage timing can make a huge difference. Some can be able to stop BS spikes after eating simply by shifting insulin to 15 minutes before eating. Try achieving your target A1C by modifying your diabetes medication or insulin - dose, type, timing, and/or frequency.
- A1C error - Ultimately, A1C is a lab test prone to inaccuracies; biological factors can play a part, so this test may not be as accurate for some people as others.
- Write stuff down & analyze - use Excel or something that works for you, even hand-drawn is ok. This allows analyze, look back and help decide the best strategy. Do BG testing in mealtime, 2 & four-hour post-meal, waking and retiring? You do not need to do this all the time, only when things seem "out of control." You can use web-charting software called Diasend.
- Thyroid problems - Have you had your thyroid checked lately? A slightly low level may cause hikes in BG along with a little weight gain.