How to Lower Your A1C Levels
Lowering A1C: Insulin and Medications
If you are type 1, insulin can be your best friend.
"Research has shown that missing as few as one or two meal boluses or injections a week can have significant impact on A1C, so the first and most critical thing for you to do is to make sure you get all your meal time and correction insulin dosages," Blum said.
Insulin can be administered via daily injections. Some people have found that insulin pump therapy offers tighter control and even more flexibility in accordance with their lifestyle. They are able to quickly and easily control the continuous flow of insulin in response to their body's needs.
Initial treatment for people with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes is often diet and exercise. Following this treatment as closely as recommended is one way to achieved A1C goals. However, there are times when oral medication is needed in order to continue effective management of diabetes or even to improve it. And when oral medications are no longer as effective, insulin is also a viable choice for people with type 2 as a step forward to good diabetes management and lower A1C levels.
Lowering A1C: Meal Planning
No matter what diabetes type you are or how long you have had it, good nutrition is part of good diabetes management, which is necessary if you want to have a low A1C. An RD/CDE is a great place to start. A registered dietitian (RD) has met academic and professional experience requirements established by a commission of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They are trained to look all aspects of your lifestyle to come up with a plan specific to your needs. If the RD is also a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), they will be able to incorporate the various aspects of diabetes into your meal plan.
Talk to your doctor about locating an RD/CDE and about the type of help available for those who cannot afford one.
Beyond professional help, learning about nutrition topics such as carb counting, the glycemic index, even dietary supplements will go a long way toward helping you make wise food choices.
- AACE. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/American College of Endocrinology Statement on the Use of Hemoglobin A1c for the Diagnosis of Diabetes. https://www.aace.com/sites/default/files/A1cPositionStatement.pdf. (Accessed 7/5/11).
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes - 2010. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/Supplement_1/S11.full. (Accessed 7/5/11).
- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. DCCT and EDIC: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and Follow-up Study. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/control. (Accessed 7/5/11).
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