What Does Normal A1c And High Blood Sugar Mean
These two problems dont sound like much fun, so youre probably wondering how to prevent them. The solution is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you and your parents know when your blood sugar level is high. Having high blood sugar levels every once in a while isnt a big deal. It happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time. But if your blood sugar levels are high a lot, your diabetes health care team will have to help you figure out how to get them back to a healthy level.
Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of it. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome . If you have high blood sugar levels, you may need treatment to lower your blood sugar. Your parents and your diabetes health care team will tell you what your blood sugar levels should be and what to do if they get too high. Different medications can have an effect on your blood sugar, for example, steroids and anti-psychotic medications increase your blood sugar levels according to the American Diabetes Association.
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Food Fitness And Prevention Of Diabetes
Bottom Line: There is much we can do with a healthy lifestyle alone, no medications needed, to prevent diabetes, states Dr. James Barnard, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UCLA and author of more than 200 studies on the relationship between lifestyle habits and chronic diseases like diabetes.
In fact, a healthy lifestyle has proven more effective than medication in staving off diabetes.
Lifestyle changes, like those taught at the Pritikin Center, are nearly twice as effective as medication in preventing pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes.
In a landmark study, the NIH-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program2, scientists followed 3,234 men and women with pre-diabetes for three years.
One-third of them adopted lifestyle changes that were similar to the Pritikin Program: a daily eating plan of low-calorie-dense, high-fiber foods exercising for at least 30 minutes five days a week and a 7% weight loss.
Another third of these pre-diabetics took a drug metformin .
The remaining third, the control group, took a placebo.
The results? Those on the lifestyle-change plan reduced the progression to full-blown type 2 diabetes by 58% compared to the control group. The reduction was even greater 71% among those aged 60 years or older.
Treatment with the drug metformin reduced the progression to type 2 diabetes by just 31%.
Put simply, lifestyle changes were nearly twice as effective as medication in preventing pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes.
What Impacts On Your Health Does High Blood Sugar Have
Having extra sugar in your bloodstream can be very harmful to the vessels in your body, as well as some major organs. Complications of diabetes include and are not limited to:
- Problems with your eyes which could lead to loss of vision
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
These complications are not caused by a spike in the blood sugar. They are caused by an increased number of high blood sugar events over a period of time. Do not think that one or two high blood sugars are going to cause you to go blind. However, it is important to know what caused those high sugars so that you can prevent it from happening again. Hemoglobin A1C levels are checked to see what the average blood sugar has been over the past 120 days. Your doctor will check this to see if how your blood sugar levels have been trending.
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Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise regimen.
Check your blood sugar levels!
There are critical times that you should check your blood sugar.
There are times when our health is well out of our control. Checking your blood sugar is one way that you can stay in control. Take this control and use it to better your health and your life.
According to the NIDDK, when checking your blood sugar levels, consider the following tips:
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What A Fasting Blood Sugar Test Shows
A fasting blood sugar test performed by a healthcare professional will return results that will fall into one of three different ranges: Normal range, prediabetes, or diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ADA categorize these ranges with the following results:
|Diabetes||126 mg/dL or higher|
A fasting blood sugar test that is performed by a healthcare professional and sent to a lab can help in the diagnosis of diabetes. An at-home fasting test should not be used to diagnose diabetes because there are many factors of a finger stick test that can affect accuracy, such as environmental conditions, expired or damaged test strips, residue on unwashed fingers, insufficient blood drop, and testing site location. You can read more about the factors that affect accuracy in this article: The Truth Behind the Numbers: What Affects Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy?
At-home fasting blood sugar tests have a different purpose in diabetes management. They provide a baseline blood sugar reading that, when compared to other readings throughout the day, allows people with diabetes to learn what factors affect their blood sugar and by how much. For instance, if you started the day within a normal range and then saw higher levels later on, there is likely a certain trigger that caused your levels to increase maybe it is due to taking a certain medication, eating a big meal, or other factors.
Whats Considered A Normal Glucose Level
Your doctor will likely test your blood glucose levels as a screening test for diabetes during a standard yearly check-up. Additionally, many people track their glucose at home with an over-the-counter finger-prick test. When you check blood glucose , either at a doctors office or with a home finger stick glucose monitor, the results are in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood.
One of the most common glucose measurements is fasting plasma glucose or fasting blood glucose , and its found by checking blood glucose levels after not having any calories at least eight hours before the test. According to the American Diabetes Association , people can be classified into three categories depending on their fasting plasma glucose levels: normal, prediabetes, and diabetes. To be considered normal, fasting glucose must be under 100 mg/dl.
Of note, CGM devices measure interstitial glucose levels compared to blood/plasma glucose levels measured in the FPG tests. While interstitial glucose and blood/plasma glucose levels correlate highly, they are not precisely the same, and diagnoses are not made from interstitial measurements.
Below is a summary overview of data about 24-hour glucose trends in nondiabetic individuals wearing CGM to gain a better understanding of whats normal.
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What Are Prediabetes Symptoms To Watch Out For
If prediabetes was easy to detect, you wouldnt have people go years and years before getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, says Antonucci.
Typically, adults experience either no symptoms at all, or the insulin resistance symptoms are so gradual or slight they may go unnoticed for years. Sometimes, though, there are warning signs. These include:
- Increased thirst
- Unexplained weight loss, even if eating more
- Frequent urination
The last symptom happens because excess sugar in your bloodstream triggers your body to make more urine in order to flush the glucose out. The more you urinate, the more likely you are to become dehydrated, which can lead to a cycle of increased hunger and thirst signals.
Diabetes symptoms men experience can also cause sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive.
These are some of the prediabetes risk factors and warning signs to watch for.
Different Levels And What They Mean
The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.
The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.
If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.
That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.
Looking for the best prediabetes diet? Learn what foods are best to help you manage your prediabetes.
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Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% .
More About Blood Sugar Levels
Our body requires glucose to get energy which is gained from the food we have. If you think that our body uses all the consumed energy in one go then you are wrong. Because of insulin, this energy is stored, and then it is released according to the needs of the body. When you have your meal, your blood sugar level goes up. Generally, it starts getting high after at least 60 minutes of having food.
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Only You Can Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes
Its annoying but true: The best way to lower your blood sugar is to avoid a spike in the first place.
Eating whole foods that are low in sugar and exercising regularly will help keep your blood sugar in check. This can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, but medications may also be necessary to keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
To avoid food-based spikes, try to steer clear of added sugars in your diet. The FDA recommends consuming less than 200 calories a day from added sugars.
That sounds pretty simple, but when you realize that 16 ounces of orange juice has 240 calories , its easy to see how sugar consumption gets out of hand.
Its best to avoid all sugary drinks and check the labels. There are hidden sugars in everything from bread to turkey slices, so double-check your favorite foods to make sure you arent getting any unnecessary sweetness.
Normal And Diabetic Blood Sugar Ranges
For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows:
- Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L when fasting
- Up to 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating
For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:
- Before meals : 4 to 7 mmol/L for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- After meals : under 9 mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes and under 8.5mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes
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How Can Continuous Glucose Monitoring Help You Maintain Optimal Glucose Levels
It is not uncommon for your glucose levels to increase after a meal: you just ate food that may contain glucose, and now your body is working on getting it out of the bloodstream and into the cells. We know that we want to prevent excessive spiking of glucose levels because studies show that high post-meal glucose spikes over 160 mg/dl are associated with higher cancer rates. Spikes are also associated with heart disease. Repeated high glucose spikes after meals contribute to inflammation, blood vessel damage, increased risk of diabetes, and weight gain. Additionally, the data shows that the big spikes and dips in glucose are more damaging to tissues than elevated but stable glucose levels. Therefore, you should strive to keep your glucose levels as steady as possible, at a low and healthy baseline level, with minimal variability after meals.
Keeping your glucose levels constant is more complicated than just following a list of eat this, avoid that foods. Each person has an individual response to food when it comes to their glucose levels studies have shown that two people can have different changes in their glucose levels after eating identical foods. The difference can be quite dramatic. One study found that some people had equal and opposite post-meal glucose spikes in response to the same food.
Eat More Fibre On A Morning
Like protein, fiber is a great way to lower blood sugar levels in a morning /natural way to lower blood sugar. This can be difficult to get, especially without added sugar. Think about the way you eat your oats. There are high chances that you pile on sugar refined or natural or bake it into a bar with dried fruits and other ingredients.
Its time to get your fiber in natural forms and consider low-GI options. That can mean cutting back on the fruit, especially first thing in a morning. Look for fruits that are lower on the glycaemic index to eat with your breakfast, such as apples and pears.
You should also look at enjoying oats with more savoury ingredients. Nuts and seeds are the perfect alternatives, packing your breakfast full of protein and fats, as well as fiber.
When you have these three ingredients working together, they will break down in the body slowly. You will find that they reduce the amount of glucose released into the body, so you dont have the same insulin response.
The extra fiber will also help you feel fuller for longer. This is important in the long term, as it will help you lose weight.
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Causes Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment
A prediabetes diagnosis can seem scary, but its really an opportunity to take control of your health before there are any serious consequences. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your pressing Qs on how to reverse prediabetes and the changes you can make right now to ensure it never turns into Type 2.
How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
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Still Frustrated With Your Blood Sugar And A1c Results
Your blood sugars and your insulin or medication needs never stay in one place. If you gain weight or lose weight, your insulin and medication needs will change. If you become more active or less active, your needs will change. If you make drastic or even small changes to your nutrition, your needs will change!
Working with your diabetes healthcare team, and diabetes coaches who can teach you how to make changes in your overall diabetes management plan are essential. Diabetes is a lifelong learning process.
Take a deep breath and be patient. If you dont like what youre seeing on your glucose meter, dont get madget studying! Take good notes and work with your team to make changes to reach your goals.
Read more about improving your A1c in DiabetesStrongs guide, How to Lower Your A1c.
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Why Your Blood Sugar Level May Be Low
If blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL, it is below normal levels. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:
- Not eating enough or missing a meal or snack
- Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you normally eat
- Alcohol consumption especially if youre drinking on an empty stomach
- Taking too much insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrates or activity levels
- Increased physical activity
- Side effects from medications
If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose meter and sources of fast-acting glucose close by in case your blood sugar drops. This is especially important for people with hypoglycemia unawareness, which is a condition that causes symptoms of low blood sugar to go unnoticed.
Eating balanced meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day is a big part of maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Check out our article on meal planning for diabetes to better understand the three macronutrients where calories come from and which have the biggest effect on blood sugar.
Everyone will respond differently to certain factors, which is why its important to have individualized target glucose levels. To help you reach your target blood glucose goals, work with your healthcare provider to discuss modifications to your diet, physical activity, or medications, and alert them of other factors like a recent illness or stressful event.
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