Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels is the number one rule for diabetics. This may mean testing blood in the day, in the evening or after a meal. However, there are many factors that influence blood sugar levels which may cause slightly inaccurate readings. This is why doctors ask for a HbA1c test to gauge changes in glucose levels and effects of treatment.
So what is HbA1c?
The HbA1c blood test is a check for the average blood sugar level over a three month period. This is a great way to judge the effectiveness of diabetic treatment and is a better indicator of a person’s risk for chronic illness. The higher the value the, higher is the blood sugar level and risk of ailments.
The ideal HbA1c value is below 6.4%. For diabetics though the number is generally higher than 6.5% but should not exceed 7%. Lowering HbA1c test levels is one of the most important factors in diabetes treatment.
How can I lower my HbA1c number?
Follow a healthy meal plan: Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet. These are high in nutrition and low in calories. Also, natural fiber got from these fruits and vegetables help keep blood glucose levels normal. Add vegetables like carrot, beans, tomatoes and broccoli to your diet. Fruits such as apples, grapefruit and watermelon are also good for glucose levels. Nuts and seeds are also loaded with anti-oxidants and omega-3 which keep your immunity and overall health good. However, always consume nuts in moderation as they are high in fat.
Note: Certain fruits and vegetables may interfere with diabetes medication. Always talk to your doctor or nutritionist before adding anything new to your diet.
Eliminate junk food: Junk and processed food like fried foods, desserts and store-bought foods all raise blood sugar and should be avoided. These foods generally consist of high sugar levels, processed flour and Trans fat, all of which impact glucose levels. Eliminate these from your diet as much as possible. When you do eat these foods, limit yourself to a small portion instead of consuming an entire packet.
Monitor portion sizes: Even with a healthy diet, portion size is important. Eating larger size meals can elevate blood sugar levels. Instead, opt for smaller quantities at more frequent intervals. This will help regulate blood sugar levels.
Lose weight: Obesity is a leading cause for diabetes. In case you are overweight, be sure to get your weight down to a normal range. Even though it may seem tough at first, don’t panic. Set smaller goals and focus on them. For example, if in total you have to lose 15 kgs, make target groups of 5 kgs at a time. Set a realistic time limit for them so you don’t get discouraged. Also, every time you meet your goals reward yourself a little to stay motivated. Talk to you doctor about advice and tips for healthy weight loss.
Get active: Exercise is essential in keeping diabetes under control. Even working out for a total of 2 hours in the week can greatly help manage blood glucose levels. Apart from exercise, do simple things that keep you active. Go for a run in the park with your pet or walk to your grocery store. Stand up and walk around while you are on the phone. Every simple activity plays a part in keeping sugar levels healthy.
Stick to a routine: Consistency is the name of the game! Try to be regular with your meal and medicine timings on a daily basis. Sticking to a routine by waking up at the same time every morning, and consuming your meals and medicines at relatively the same time daily can greatly help keep blood glucose levels in check.
Monitor blood sugar levels regularly: Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels can alert you to any changes instantly. This may be due to certain foods, an exercise routine or something else. Regularly monitoring these levels will help you make adjustments that keep you in the normal range, over time reducing you HbA1c level as well.
Maintain a diabetic log: Maintain a log with all your blood test readings, your meal plans, the time you eat, exercise and all such information. Overtime this will help you identify the meal plans that were working for you and at what times your blood sugar is high. This log will also help the doctor to monitor and adjust your medication in the right way to keep HbA1c levels low.
The treatment for diabetes has to be customized to each person. So be sure to listen to your doctor and follow the treatment suggested. Also, a healthy lifestyle with timely medication is the best way to keep blood glucose levels normal and be healthy.