Maintaining a low A1C test result is a key goal for people with diabetes. The A1C test, which can be used to diagnose and manage diabetes, provides a glimpse of your average blood sugar levels over a period of two to three months. Living a healthy lifestyle and actively managing your diabetes typically results in a lower, healthy A1C level. On the flipside, people who eat the wrong foods and don't closely monitor their blood glucose may end up with higher A1C levels than normal.[AD:foo]
Normal A1C levels are typically regarded as being less than 6.5 percent or less, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. People should work with their doctors or health specialists to determine what their personal A1C goals should be. People who have worse A1C test results are likely to see significant results within a few months of pushing to lower their blood sugar levels. People who have healthier A1C levels, but still not good A1C levels, often need more time to see improvements.
The first step toward achieving normal A1C levels is through regular blood sugar testing. This is perhaps the most basic component of diabetes treatment. People who don't test their blood sugar levels throughout the day can't take steps to keep their blood glucose stable. Blood sugar monitoring can also help to prevent diabetic comas while alerting people of when they're in need of help. To properly monitor blood sugar and lower A1C levels, the American Diabetes Association recommends checking blood glucose levels three times per day.
Once healthy monitoring habits are established, living a healthy life is crucial for maintaining normal A1C levels. This means eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. The right diets for lowering high A1C levels are low in sugars and fats; people who have diabetes should focus on a menu of lean meats, fresh produce and complex whole-grain carbohydrates. Meanwhile, exercise enhances metabolism and can help flush blood sugar from the body more quickly. Diabetics who take dieting and exercise seriously often can get by without leaning so heavily on medication.
When diet and exercise fail, there are medicinal options to help lower A1C levels. Insulin injections can help to break down sugar in the blood when blood sugar levels have grown dangerously high, or when the body has become resistant to other forms of blood sugar control. In the event that the body begins to reject insulin injections, certain medications can help to manage blood glucose levels. Medication and insulin injections are often needed in some capacity by people who have diabetes.
Diabetics who have lower A1C levels face a statistically lower risk of various complications that stem from diabetes. Some of these serious complications include eye disease, nerve disease, neuropathy, kidney disease, heart disease and cardiovascular disease. People who have diabetes already face more of a risk for these conditions, and controlling A1C levels can minimize this added risk.