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Top Ways to Lower A1c Levels and Control Diabetes

Written byNikhil Ambatkar

Last updated on : 20 Jun, 2024

Read time : 9 min

How to lower my HbA1C levels?

Reducing your haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels, which reflect average blood sugar over recent months, is vital for diabetes management and complication prevention. Start by adopting a balanced diet focusing on whole grains, lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Avoid sugary and processed foods that lead to blood sugar spikes.

Regular physical activity plays a key role. Engage in aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Weight management is essential, as shedding excess pounds can positively impact your HbA1C levels.

Monitor your blood sugar regularly to track progress and make necessary adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. Your doctor may prescribe medications or insulin if more than diet and exercise are needed. Consult your doctor before making any vital changes to your diabetes management plan. Consistency in healthy habits is the key to achieving and maintaining lower HbA1C levels.

Also read: Foods to Manage Diabetes

Importance of managing HbA1C for diabetes control

Managing your HbA1C is vital for effective diabetes control. This measure reflects your average blood sugar levels over time. Keeping your HbA1C within a target range helps prevent diabetes-related complications such as nerve damage, kidney problems, and heart-related issues. 

Maintaining a healthy HbA1C normal range reduces the risk of these complications and promotes overall well-being. Regular monitoring, a balanced diet, staying physically active, and following your doctors’ guidance are crucial steps in managing your HbA1C or A1C levels and ensuring better diabetes control.

Factors affecting HbA1c Levels

Several factors can influence your HbA1c levels, measuring your average blood sugar over time. Here are some factors:

Factors-affecting-HbA1c-Level
  • Dietary choices: What you eat directly impacts your blood sugar. Choosing nutrient-rich, low-glycemic foods can help stabilise HbA1c levels.
  • Physical activity: Regular exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, leading to satisfactory blood sugar control and lower HbA1c readings.
  • Medication adherence: Taking prescribed medications consistently as your doctor directs is crucial for managing blood sugar and maintaining optimal HbA1c levels.
  • Stress levels: Stress can lead to blood sugar spikes. Managing stress through relaxation techniques or mindfulness may positively influence HbA1c levels.
  • Overall health: Illness, infections, and medical conditions can affect blood sugar levels temporarily, influencing HbA1c readings.
  • Blood sugar fluctuations: Changes in medication, skipping meals, or erratic eating patterns can impact HbA1c levels. Consistent habits are essential.
  • Regular monitoring:  Keep track of your blood sugar and work closely with your doctor to adjust your diabetes management plan as needed.

Ten ways to lower your HbA1C

Here are some ways to keep your HbA1C levels in control:

1) Healthy eating habits

Select a balanced and nutritious diet that emphasises whole foods. Focus on consuming whole grains, lean proteins (such as poultry, fish, and beans), non-starchy vegetables, and fruits with a lower glycemic index. Prioritise portion control to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels.

2) Regular physical activity

Engaging in regular exercise helps your body use insulin more effectively, leading to more satisfactory blood sugar control. Incorporate a combination of aerobic exercises (like walking, swimming, or cycling) and strength training to improve insulin sensitivity.

3) Medication management

If you’re prescribed diabetes medications, take them as directed by your healthcare provider. Adhering to the prescribed dosage and timing is vital for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

4) Insulin therapy

If you require insulin therapy, work closely with your doctor to understand the proper administration and monitoring of insulin. Following the recommended insulin regimen helps manage your blood sugar levels consistently.

Also read: Tips To Use Insulin

Weight management

Achieving and maintaining weight is essential for diabetes management. Excess weight can contribute to insulin resistance. Focus on a balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity to support weight loss or maintenance.

Stress management

Chronic stress can elevate blood sugar levels. Practice stress-reduction methods such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to help keep your stress levels in check.

Adequate sleep

Prioritise getting enough quality sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Regular monitoring

Use a glucose monitor to track your blood sugar levels regularly. Monitoring helps you understand how different foods, activities, and treatments affect your blood sugar, enabling you to make informed decisions.

Limit alcohol and quit smoking

Limit alcohol consumption, as it can cause blood sugar fluctuations. Quit smoking, as it worsens diabetes-related complications and hampers blood vessel health.

Hydration

Staying adequately hydrated is crucial for blood sugar management. Drink satisfactory water throughout the day to prevent dehydration, which can affect blood sugar levels.

Tips for successful HbA1C testing

Some useful tips which you can use for successful HbA1C testing are:

  • Regular testing: Follow your doctor’s recommendations for HbA1C testing frequency. Regular testing helps you and your healthcare team track your long-term blood sugar control.
  • Consistency is key: Try to get your HbA1C tests done at the same lab each time. Different labs may yield different results due to variations in testing methods.
  • Fasting not required: Unlike other blood tests, you don’t need to fast before an HbA1C test. You can have the test done at any time of the day.
  • Understand the numbers: The HbA1C blood test result is a percentage reflecting your average blood sugar over the past two to three months. Aim for a target A1C level recommended by your doctor.
  • Track lifestyle changes: If you’re changing your diet, exercise routine, or medication, keep track of these changes and share them with your doctor. This information helps them interpret your HbA1C test results accurately.
  • Keep appointments: Attend regular check-ups as scheduled. These interactions allow your doctor to review your HbA1C test results and adjust your treatment plan.
  • Discuss concerns: Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your HbA1C test results. They can help you understand the results and manage your diabetes effectively.
  • Combine with blood sugar monitoring: HbA1C testing complements daily blood sugar monitoring. While the HbA1C test provides a broader picture of your average blood sugar levels, regular monitoring gives insights into daily fluctuations.
  • Consistent lifestyle: Remember that A1C levels reflect overall blood sugar control, so maintaining consistent healthy habits is critical to achieving desired results.

Conclusion

Incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle can significantly impact your A1C levels and help you better manage your diabetes. Remember, small changes can make significant improvements. By focusing on healthy eating, staying active, managing stress, and following your healthcare provider’s guidance, you can take charge of your diabetes control. 

Regular monitoring, medication management, and positive lifestyle choices will lower your A1C levels and improve your overall well-being. Recognise that every step toward healthier habits is toward a brighter, healthier future with diabetes under control.

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Frequently asked questions

Which foods can help lower your A1C quickly?

Foods high in fibre, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help lower A1C levels over time.

How long does it typically take to lower your A1C?

The time it takes to lower A1C varies depending on individual factors and the steps taken. It can take a few weeks to several months to see significant changes.

What is considered as a HbA1C normal range based on age?

The HbA1c normal range may vary based on age, but generally, a level below 5.7% is considered normal, 5.7% to 6.4% indicates prediabetes, and above 6.5% suggests diabetes.

Can drinking water have an impact on lowering HbA1c?

Drinking water doesn’t directly impact on lowering A1C, but it’s essential for overall health and can support hydration, which is beneficial.

How can I check my A1C at home?

A doctor typically performs A1C tests. Home A1C testing kits are available, but consulting a doctor for accurate results is recommended.

Does lack of sleep have any connection to increased HbA1c levels?

Lack of sleep can influence insulin sensitivity and may contribute to higher A1C levels over time.

Does consuming sugar lead to an increase in HbA1c?

Excessive sugar consumption can increase A1C levels, leading to higher blood sugar levels.

What factors can cause a sudden rise in HbA1c levels?

Sudden rises in A1C levels can be due to factors like changes in diet, medication adjustments, or increased stress levels.

What is A1C, and how do you calculate it?

A1C measures the average blood sugar of the past three months. It’s calculated by analysing the amount of glucose attached to haemoglobin in red blood cells.

What are the differences between A1C and blood sugar?

A1C provides a longer-term picture of blood sugar control, while blood sugar tests measure glucose levels at a specific moment. A1C reflects average levels over two to three months.

How to decrease haemoglobin?

To decrease haemoglobin levels, blood donation or medical treatment may be necessary.

How to control HbA1c naturally?

Controlling HbA1c naturally involves adopting a healthy lifestyle with balanced eating and physical activity.

Disclaimer 

The content provided within this article has been thoroughly verified for accuracy. However, it is advised to consult a doctor before utilising any medication or dietary supplements mentioned herein.

References

  • Nathan DM, Buse JB, Davidson MB, Ferrannini E, Holman RR, Sherwin R, Zinman B. Medical management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes: a consensus algorithm for the initiation and adjustment of therapy: a consensus statement of the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Diabetes care. 2009 Jan 1;32(1):193-203. [Cited on: 2023 August 14]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2606813/ 
  • Kirwan JP, Sacks J, Nieuwoudt S. The essential role of exercise in the management of type 2 diabetes. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine. 2017 Jul;84(7 Suppl 1):S15. [Cited on: 2023 August 14]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846677/ 
  • Asif M. The prevention and control of type-2 diabetes by changing lifestyle and dietary patterns. Journal of education and health promotion. 2014;3. [Cited on: 2023 August 14]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3977406/
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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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