How do you lower your A1C? I don’t see how people do it.
The ONLY way to lower your A1c level is with tighter blood sugar (glucose) control.
You need to keep on top of your blood sugar control as the A1c test gives an estimated Average Glucose level from the preceding 3 months, with a slight bias towards the latter 4 to 6 weeks of that time. (It measures the amount of glucose that’s glycated (attached) to your red blood cells. As the average lifespan of red blood cells is between 90 and 120 days, this is how it measures what your blood sugar levels have been like over this time. Obviously, not all of your red blood cells die at the same time, which is why it can only offer an estimated average of your blood glucose results. i.e. you MAY have had low blood glucose levels, but you MAY also have had high blood glucose levels.)
I appreciate that it’s not always an easy thing to do, but you have a diabetes support team … your doctor/endocrinologist, diabetes specialist nurse, certified diabetes educator, dietitian … who will be able to advise you on what steps you need to take. It’s difficult for anyone here to offer specific instructions/guidance as none of us know you as an individual, so we don’t know how to get you to change things.
I wish you well, and truly do hope you’re able to lower your A1c level. It really IS in your best interests to do so as higher than ‘normal’ blood glucose levels is what leads to the likelihood of you developing diabetes-related complications.
Be well, Alycat2214.
Lots of Love and Light.
x x x x
x x x
P.S. Please don’t be offended, or alarmed, at the ‘x’s’. It’s merely a logo, of sorts, that I’ve used for some 30-odd years now.
Thank you mick. That does help. I appreciate you reminding me of my support team. But also, I find it hard to listen to them, as none of them, except for my endo have diabetes. I was mainly asking for what others do that works for them. But thank you for your support.
Thank you for coming back, Alycat.
Honestly, I wasn’t trying to evade giving you a direct answer, but none of us here can possibly know you as well as members of your diabetes support team. For instance, we don’t know which type of diabetes you have; how long you’ve been diagnosed; how it’s controlled; whether you have any comorbid medical conditions; whether you work or are at school; if you’re able to exercise; whether you experience difficulties because you’re not able to stick to your dietary regimen, etc. (I did try looking at your profile to see what you’d said about yourself, but it just says “Locked Member. Sorry, this profile is locked.” so I wasn’t able to glean any information from there.)
I truly do appreciate what you’re saying about only your endo being diabetic, but that really isn’t that important. None of my diabetes support team are diabetic, but there are several of them that I would trust with my life. I have that much confidence in that they KNOW what they’re talking about, and are aware of some of the ‘problems’ that individuals might have going against them. (Some of the members of my support team have even gone through the routine of wearing an insulin pump for several days so that they could get some sort of idea of what it must be like for pump users. Obviously, they used sterile water and not insulin in the pumps that were used.)
I do hope we can continue talking, Alycat, as I dearly would like to offer some support and encouragement.
Lots of Love and Light.
x x x x
x x x
Well, I am a type 1 diabetic and am in high school.
I can exercise, which I do because I walk to and from school. I do struggle staying with my diet, as I hang out with my friends and can’t eat the same things they do in whatever way they want. I also have been diagnosed since I was 9, and now am 15. I was diagnosed in December of 2009. I “control” my diabetes with insulin (novolog and Lantus). I also take vitamin December supplements, as I am low on it.
I am in 10th grade and I am 15 years old. My A1C is 5.8 from exercise, dieting, and having a tight control on my BG levels. I exercise almost everyday and try my hardest to avoid junk and processed foods. I take supplements that help my liver and blood sugar. One of the supplements I take is actually and herb called Gymnema. This herb is extremely powerful and makes a great impact on your blood sugar levels. From dieting, working out, and having a tight control I was able to bring my A1C from 11.1 to 5.8. Now, my lantus is only 6 units and I barely take insulin.
What type of diabetes do you have? It does make a difference.
Thank you, Alycat, for requesting to become friends. I have, of course, accepted.
I appreciate you offering more information about yourself as it does help somewhat. (I also note that you’ve now allowed access to your profile, which does offer more information, too. Thank you.)
You’re almost an ‘old hand’ with having been diagnosed so long ago, ma’am. I was diagnosed in 1980. I used to be on MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) for about the first 18 years, but was spending as much, if not more, time as a hospital in-patient than I was spending at home. I was termed a ‘brittle’ diabetic, which used to mean that the person had wildly swinging blood glucose levels. It’s now commonly used to simply indicate someone that has poor blood glucose control. Since 1998 I’ve been using an insulin pump … or Continuous Insulin Infusion System if you prefer the proper name for it.
Pump use has been a God/dess send for me. My endo was attending a diabetes conference in the United States where he got to talking to a former Miss America, Nicole Johnson, who just happens to be a type 1 diabetic and was demonstrating how the pump has helped her. I became the first person in the area where I live (in the UK) to try a pump.
You MAY know that the financing for such things is different in the UK than it is in the United States. We have our NHS (National Health Service) which is financed by deductions from the taxes that every working person pays, so I get the pump and the relevant supplies for running it free of charge. (It’s the same for any diabetic that receives either oral medications or insulin as a form of treatment. We don’t have to pay for our prescriptions.)
Unfortunately, I do know that private pensions are the ‘order of the day’ in the United States as I’ve spoken to many people out there that experience difficulties in finding the money to pay for such treatments.
I take it your spelling correction made it appear that you take vitamin December. lol. Many diabetics tend to be lacking in vitamin D. I’ve been taking a supplement, combined with Calcium as I have a lack of Calcium within my body, for probably 20 years or so now. (Vitamin D helps the absorption of Calcium, and lack of Calcium can cause the development of osteoporosis … ‘thinning’ of the bones, or rather lack of density of the bones.)
I’m relatively sure that you’re aware that exercise IS important, my young friend. This is because it helps your muscles to utilise [utilize, if you insist on the American spelling] the insulin you inject so that it can ‘open up’ the body’s cells and allow glucose to enter them, where it is used to create energy, thereby keeping us alive.
I noticed in your profile that you sometimes forget to take your insulin, ma’am. You really do need to try and keep on top of that. I know I sound like an old fogey (old geezer), and I am, but I do have my own experience of having developed a number of diabetes-related complications, and it would be wrong of me to not warn you of them.
I won’t go into detail about the complications as I certainly have no wish to frighten you. I will, though, tell you that some of them can be a real pain … literally; some can be rather embarrassing; and some COULD prove fatal. This is why your doctor is trying to get you to lower your A1c level. Chronic (long-standing) higher than ‘normal’ blood sugar (glucose) levels makes the development of complications much more likely.
Your diabetes support team are really aware of the sorts of things that you might be going through, my young friend. They know what it was like to be a teen, the sorts of peer pressure that goes on, the sorts of distractions that you might have, etc.
I know it’s easy for an outsider to say take more exercise, but they really do need to be aware of how quickly NovoLog (insulin aspart) can work and how quickly this can lower blood glucose levels if the exercise is ‘heavy’. You, too, need to be aware of this, and you must always make sure that you do check your blood glucose levels frequently during AND after exercise. (I used to run marathons and could almost guarantee that roughly 1.5 to 2 hours after training I would experience a hypo, even though I used to reduce my insulin dose prior to training AND used to eat some fast acting carbs during it.)
I really do appreciate how difficult it is to be surrounded by friends that can eat and do what they want, when they want, my friend. It’s certainly not easy, but you WILL be grateful, if you are able to resist the temptations, in years to come. (I know what it’s like to be young, fit, and feel as though you could take on the World … and beat it. Sadly, the reality is, you won’t beat it. You will succumb if you don’t try.)
I’m truly glad that you enjoy school, Alycat. To me, when you say “I love learning new things”, that indicates that you’re an intelligent young lady. I wish I’d been a better student during my school days. Now, I can’t seem to learn enough. I’ve got my fingers in so many pies, so to speak.
You mention that you walk to school. Is this by yourself or with a group of friends? I ask as speedy walking is better for you, though I daresay that friends wouldn’t be wanting to go along with you if it meant walking at a fast pace. (It’s better for you as it raises your heart rate, pumps your blood around your system, and gets your muscles working more efficiently … all of which will help you in the long run.)
I thank you again, ma’am, for requesting to be friends, and I thank you for offering the information that you’ve given.
Be well, my new-found friend.
Lots of Love and Light.
x x x x
x x x
I do walk alone. Many of my friends are older than me and have their licenses, if not have there parents drop them off or take the bus. I used to meet a friend and we’d walk at a fast pace together, as he walked very fast, but he no longer goes to my school, as he has moved. Since he moved, I have been walking at that same pace, as I got so used to it. My friends do suggest to keep up with me when we walk around at lunch, so I do end up walking by myself.
I am sorry about my spelling error. Auto correct on my tablet does it for me and never knows what I want to say, and just randomly says anything.
I struggled with high A1C’s for many years before gradually bringing it down into the 6’s, and I’ve been there consistently for the last 15 years. Here is what worked for me.
Insulin pump: This is a godsend, as someone else said. I can adjust my basal (baseline) rate when I exercise to keep from going low, I can increase during times of stress or PMS, I can correct high BG’s easily, and I can give myself a bolus (meal dose) even for something very small. I also have it programmed to alert me if I haven’t given myself my usual mealtime dose, in case I forgot to bolus.
Checking BG’s: I check my BG several times a day, usually between 6 and 8, just about every single day. I once read that your BG is like having a rattlesnake in your living room. As long as you know where it is, you can deal with it.
Lower-carb: Most days, I keep my meals at no more than 25-30g of carbohydrate, with one or two 15g snacks, overall <100g day. This minimizes the post-meal spikes and makes your BG so much easier to manage. I still have an occasional treat like french fries or ice cream, but that’s once or twice a week.
The reality is that T1 is a fairly rare condition, and I have only once run into a diabetes educator who had it themselves. Everyone else on my healthcare teams over the years has been non-diabetic, and that’s fine. They may not get all of the emotional nuances of this disease, but they can help you manage it better. You can do this, but it’s going to take a lot of diligence and effort. I hope you get a pump soon if you don’t already have one. If you do, then meet with a diabetes educator or a rep from your pump manufacturer to learn more about the bells and whistles that can help you manage things more closely.
Hi @AlyCat2214 ,
Mick and Angie gave you a lot of really good information so I won’t try to repeat any of that but, I will instead answer directly what you asked, “How du you lower your A1C?”. @micksmixxx asked you a bunch of good leading questions so that we could better respond to your dilemma.
First let me relate to you that for about 30 years I used MDI with Beef/pork Regular & NPH [the newer refined DNA stuff hadn’t yet been invented] to get my HBA1c to a relatively good level and about ten years ago started pumping. I began MDI when [crude] blood glucose meters first became available; prior to that I’d take about 80 units of NPH each day - insulin at that time came in measurements of U-40 and U-70 rather than the current standard of U-100.
So, how did I manage to get my A1c readings between 5.7 and 6.4 every three months for more than a dozen years? Now the doctor has ordered my to keep my A1c no lower than 6.5 because “older” people may not be as aware of lows as are younger folk - BTW, I was diagnosed on my 16th birthday 58 years ago. At first it was a lot of “hit & miss” and a tremendous “WAGing” most of the time:
FIRST, I began to look at goods and tried learning how foods and the quantiles of those foods affected my BG - then I would take enough Regular to cover that food - id that didn’t work I try to remember what I did wrong and change the next time. I was wrong more often than I was right.
SECOND: I learned to carb count, write down everything and do the quick mental arithmetic to apply my carb/insulin ratio. Of course now with the pump wizard those calculations are done for me.
THIRD: I became honest with my counting and with post-meal test results. It took me years to admit that the only person I was really cheating was myself. So what if I need to make a correction to fix what I did wrong as long as I don’t stack unnecessary insulin in my body nd cause a very low BG.
Everyone is different, my way is not guaranteed for any one else. but …
I get regular non-strenuous exercise, maintain the same 150 pounds I was at 16 [I’m about 5’ 11"], count carbs accurately, dose appropriately for meals, eat about 230 carbs each day with total daily insulin between 21 and 24 units, and enjoy life living as I like doing whatever I want.
Good luck to you Aly and stay in touch,
Thank you mick, mateen, an gym and dennis. You all have been of great help. Thanks for your support.
There’s a book I read called “Think Like a Pancreas”. Pick it up on Amazon–it REALLY helped me.
What’s your target blood sugar? If you lower it (without having low blood sugars) your A1c will magically drop. It’s a lot easier to make the change one test at a time than by thinking you have to drop your A1c a whole bunch. You didn’t learn algebra all in one day… you learned it one problem at a time, over days and weeks of math classes.
Testing more often helps you catch and correct a high a little faster. Carb counting helps you make sure you’re taking enough insulin. Each time your blood sugar is decent you’ll feel better and have more energy to spend time hanging out with your friends and living your life.
Try not to stress so much about being insulin challenged. You live in the modern era so there is no diabetic diet. Learn to carb count. Have fun and I promise you diabetes can be managed along the way. All the diabetics I know are cool people doing neat things. And we can all divide any number by our carb ration. =)
P.S. Endos and other healthcare professionals are great people but they aren’t you and don’t have your expertise with diabetes. Always be open minded to trying what they suggest but be confident if something is or isn’t working for you.