The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 84 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3—have prediabetes. Having prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month, you can imagine why I’d want to bring attention to your A1C levels. By lowering your A1C levels you can help reduce the risk or intensity of any diabetes complications.
For those who may not know, A1C is one of the primary blood tests used to diagnose Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and then, when diagnosed, used to gauge how well you’re managing your diabetes. The A1C test is also great for determining the likelihood that someone will develop diabetes.
Here’s how it works. Once your blood is drawn it is used to measure how much sugar is attached to the hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar levels, and the higher the risk of developing diabetes or an increase of complications.
There are several ways to get your A1C down. You can start by making some small adjustments to your everyday lifestyle to help you reach a healthy A1C number and avoid diabetes complications. Here’s 3 proactive changes to get you started.
- Create a diabetes management plan with your doctor which should include your medication list, target blood glucose levels, and a plan on how to correct low blood sugars.
- Track what you eat. Most foods, aside from lean proteins, contain some sugar. By learning how to balance and spread out carbohydrates evenly throughout the day, you can maintain healthy A1C levels.
- Get active and get others involved. It is easier to adopt to new changes if you have someone to motivate and keep you on the right path to a more active lifestyle.
It’s ok to go off track a little bit, as we’re all human, but try to be mindful as your health depends on it. To create a diabetes management plan or to discuss your A1C levels, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor.