Why You Shouldnt Lower Your A1c Too Quickly
It can be a good idea to approach lowering your A1c with a bit of caution. Just as crash dieting isnt healthy, there can be some serious health risks associated with lowering your A1c too quickly. I turned to Dr. Peters for an explanation:
If you lower your A1c too quickly, many bad things can happen. First, weight gain and total body swelling. Next, it can cause bleeding in the retina which can lead to blindness, and third, it can cause painful neuropathy that never goes away. Its slightly different for newly diagnosed patients, but, in general, no one should try to go from an A1c of 10% to 6% quickly. Take slow steps. Wanting to get to a low number very fast only causes harm. Diabetes is a long-term disease, so slow steps to establish new habits that can last a lifetime is the way to go. Anything too sudden and the body reacts badly.
Why Elevated Glucose May Lead To Weight Gain
Foods high in sugar and refined carbs may promote weight gain because of their impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. These foods are considered high-glycemic carbs because they are quickly digested and lead to rapid rises in blood sugar.
Examples of high-glycemic foods include:
- White bread, bagels, white rice, white-flour pasta
- Muffins, croissants, doughnuts, flavored instant oatmeal, most cereals
- Cakes, candy, cookies, and most desserts
- Corn and white potatoes
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Occasionally eating some cake at a birthday party isnt a big deal, but a diet high in these foods and low in other blood sugar balancing nutrients like fiber and protein can mean you have higher insulin levels than usual as your body tries to lower blood sugar. Over time, insulin can promote fat storage.
When your glucose spikes and you dont burn the excess energy, your body converts the extra glucose to glycogen stored in your muscle tissue and liver or as fat stored in your adipose cells.
By learning how your blood sugar responds to food and exercise, you can keep your glucose in a target range that also promotes a healthy weight.
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Low Blood Glucose During Sleep
Your blood glucose level can drop while you sleep and stay low for several hours, causing serious problems.7 Symptoms of low blood glucose while you sleep can include
- crying out or having nightmares
- sweating enough to make your pajamas or sheets damp
- feeling tired, irritable, or confused after waking up
Although you may not wake up or notice any symptoms, low blood glucose can interfere with your sleep, which may affect your quality of life, mood, and ability to work. Having low blood glucose during sleep can also make you less likely to notice and respond to symptoms of low blood glucose during the day.
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Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications. Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications like Metformin, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels In Healthy Individuals
Blood sugar levels can either be normal, high, or low, depending on how much glucose someone has in their bloodstream. Glucose is a simple sugar thats present in the bloodstream at all times. Blood glucose levels can be measured at any time, for example, when someone fasts , before they eat, or after theyve eaten. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, who havent eaten for at least eight hours is less than 100 mg/dL. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, two hours after eating, is 90 to 110 mg/dL.
Many factors affect blood sugar levels throughout the day:
- Type of food consumed, how much, and when
- Physical activity
- Menstrual periods
An ideal blood sugar level for anyone without diabetes or prediabetes, regardless of age, in the morning should be less than 100 mg/dL. Remember, blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day as a result of the factors previously mentioned.
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Official Hba1c Ada Recommendation For Someone With Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends an HbA1C of less than 7% for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A lower goal, such as less than 6.5%, may be appropriate for some people who have had diabetes for a shorter amount of time, for younger people, for those without heart disease, and/or for those with type 2 diabetes treated with lifestyle or metformin only. A higher HbA1C goal, such as less than 8%, may be appropriate for people with a history of severe hypoglycemia, a limited life expectancy, advanced diabetes complications, other illnesses, or for whom a lower HbA1C goal is difficult to achieve. Its important that people with diabetes discuss their target blood sugar goals with their health care provider.
HbA1C levels should be checked between two to four times per year in people who have diabetes.
Prediabetes: Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment
The day youre diagnosed with prediabetes can feel like a remarkably scary day. It can also be a day that motivates you to take action. While type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease , there are still many things you can do to improve your blood sugars right away.
In fact, prediabetes is type 2 diabetes in its earliest stages which is why it shouldnt be dismissed or taken lightly. Youve earned the pre in front of diabetes because while your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, they simply arent high enough to qualify for full-fledged type 2 diabetes.
For some, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is reversible. For others, it may not be.
In this article, well look at the symptoms of prediabetes, how its diagnosed, how its treated, and whether or not it can be reversed.
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What Is Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar is a level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood that is lower than normal. According to the American Diabetes Association, the cut-off value for Level 1 hypoglycemia, or moderately low blood sugar, is 70 mg/dl. However, you may not be regularly measuring your blood sugar if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes. Instead, you might suspect that you have hypoglycemia because of its symptoms. The fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and need to sit down are the result of your body being deprived of its main fuel source: glucose.
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Blood Sugar Chart: Summary
The fasting blood sugar, 2-hour post-meal blood sugar, and HbA1C tests are important ways to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, as well as indicate how well a persons diabetes is being managed. If you think you have diabetes, its important to not try and diagnose yourself by doing a finger-stick with a home blood glucose meter. There are strict standards and procedures that laboratories use for diagnosing diabetes therefore, you should get tested at your doctors office or at a laboratory.
Its also important to talk with your doctor to make sure you understand a) how often you should have certain tests, such as a fasting blood glucose or HbA1C test b) what your results mean and c) what your blood sugar and HbA1C targets are.
If you have not been previously diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes but your results are above normal, your doctor may recommend other tests and should discuss a plan of treatment with you. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, a healthy eating plan, and regular physical activity. You may need to start taking diabetes medications, including insulin. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, its recommended that you learn how to check your blood sugars with a meter so that you and your health care team can determine how your treatment plan is working for you.
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Factors That Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. This means your body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels on its own.
Its a delicate balance to maintain, so the following list can help you familiarize yourself with factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to go up or down.
Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
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Tips To Manage Blood Glucose Levels
There are several steps a person can often take to help control blood sugar.
Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a moderate weight, and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise each week
Other tips for controlling blood sugar can include:
- eating at regular times and not skipping meals
- drinking more water
- balancing portions at meals so that a typical plate will be one-fourth meat, one-fourth starchy foods, and one-half non-starchy vegetables
Any person who experiences symptoms of low or high blood sugar should see a doctor, whether or not they have a diagnosis of diabetes.
What Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below what is healthy for you. For many people with diabetes, this means a blood glucose reading lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .1 Your number might be different, so check with your doctor or health care team to find out what blood glucose level is low for you.
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How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
Knowing Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, the frequency of testing your blood glucose level depends on your treatment plan, so follow your doctors advice on the appropriate times for you.
Common times to check are in the morning, before and after meals, before and after exercise, at bedtime, and if you feel sick. Some people may not need to check their blood sugar daily.
What you eat and what you do for physical activity affect your blood sugar. But theres no way to know what effect they have unless you test your blood sugar.
Blood glucose meters are used to test blood sugar levels so you can see if your levels are within the target range. Your doctor will also work with you on your individualized range.
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Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome : When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 2 Diabetes
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome is very rare, but you should be aware of it and know how to handle it if it occurs.
HHNS is when your blood glucose level goes way too highyou become extremely hyperglycemic. HHNS affects people with type 2 diabetes.
HHNS is most likely to occur when you’re sick, and elderly people are most likely to develop it.
It starts when your blood glucose level starts to climb: when that happens, your body will try to get rid of all the excess glucose through frequent urination. That dehydrates your body, and you’ll become very thirsty.
Unfortunately, when you’re sick, it’s sometimes more difficult to rehydrate your body. For example, it might be difficult to keep fluids down.
When you don’t rehydrate your body, the blood glucose level continues to climb, and it can eventually go so high that it could send you into a coma.
To avoid hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, you should keep close watch on your blood glucose level when you’re sick .
Talk to your health care professional about having a sick-day plan to follow that will help you avoid HHNS.
You should also be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of HHNS, which include:
Extremely high blood glucose level
Why They Happen And How To Try And Reduce Them If You Live With Type 1 Diabetes
Living with type 1 diabetes requires you to regularly check your blood sugar levels before you eat. However, we may not always consider what happens to our sugar levels immediately after we eat where it is very normal for people who dont have diabetes, let alone those who do, to temporarily have high sugar levels. Given that having high sugar levels can give you symptoms like thirst, tiredness and needing to go to the toilet a lot, learning about ways to try and reduce spikes in your sugar levels after meals may make a difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
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What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels And What Blood Sugar Level Constitutes A True Emergency
Dr. Horton answers the question: ‘Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels?’
& #151 — Question:What is the normal range for blood sugar levels, and what blood sugar level constitutes a true emergency?
Answer:Now, in a normal individual we measure blood sugar under different circumstances. What we call fasting blood sugar or blood glucose levels is usually done six to eight hours after the last meal. So it’s most commonly done before breakfast in the morning and the normal range there is 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter.
Now when you eat a meal, blood sugar generally rises and in a normal individual it usually does not get above a 135 to 140 milligrams per deciliter. So there is a fairly narrow range of blood sugar throughout the entire day.
Now in our diabetic patients we see both low blood sugar levels that we call hypoglycemia, or elevated blood sugars, hyperglycemia. Now, if the blood sugar drops below about 60 or 65 milligrams per deciliter, people will generally get symptoms, which are some shakiness, feeling of hunger, maybe a little racing of the heart and they will usually be trenchant or if they eat something, it goes away right away. But if blood sugar drops below 50 and can get down as low as 40 or 30 or even 20, then there is a progressive loss of mental function and eventually unconsciousness and seizures. And of course that is very dangerous and a medical emergency.
Does A Blood Sugar Spike Mean You Have Diabetes
Occasional high spikes donât mean you have diabetes. Itâs normal for your blood sugar to go up after eating a meal high in carbohydrates or even due to lifestyle habits and events. Besides food, your blood sugar can be affected by stress, lack of sleep, age, menstrual cycle, physical activity, and even being sick.
What affects one person’s blood sugar may also affect yours differently. We can all have different responses to food, so monitoring the overall trend of your blood sugar gives you the most insight into your overall health.
However, while infrequent spikes aren’t a problem, if they happen more regularly, it’s time to take a closer look at what’s contributing.
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