How to Lower Your A1C Levels
Lowering A1C: Exercise
Exercise is important in a number of ways that can benefit a person with diabetes:
- control blood sugar levels
- weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance
- increased energy levels
- improved heart health
- emotional well-being
Aerobic exercise, such as running or walking, can lower your blood sugar levels when you expend energy. Anaerobic exercise, such as weight training or power sports like baseball, may have the opposite effect, temporarily raising blood sugar levels due to a delayed release of glucose. However, the overall effect is increased insulin action over a longer period, with a net effect of lowered blood sugar.
Lowering A1C: Doctor Visits
As you work to bring your A1C levels down, don't forget to check in regularly with your doctor to monitor your progress. Regular visits will help you keep tabs on your blood glucose trends, blood pressure, cholesterol, and potential complications like nerve damage. Your doctor can also help fine-tune your medications as well as help you to orchestrate how all these elements work together.
Lowering A1C: What Else May Help?
In addition to traditional medical treatment, alternative treatments may prove beneficial, although all forms of treatment should be discussed with your doctor before implementing them in your diabetes regimen. Managing stress is also an important part of keeping your blood sugar under control, thus lowering your A1C levels. So if you do not already have a source of support, try to find a local group with whom you can share your diabetes concerns as well as triumphs. You can even look for support online with groups such as the dLife Forum.
1-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).
2-American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes - 2010. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/Supplement_1/S11.full. (Accessed 7/5/11).
3-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).
Reviewed by Jason C. Baker, M.D. 4/11
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