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.
Blood Sugar Level Chart By Age
Blood sugar levels tend to rise with age due to an increase in insulin resistance and decrease in insulin sensitivity. In one study by the National Health Institute , each extra decade of age was linked to a 2.7 mg/dl increase in fasting glucose, and a 4.5 mg/dl increase in 2-hour post-prandial glucose levels.
Prediabetes Flies Under The Radar
You can have prediabetes for years without symptoms. This means you likely wont know you have prediabetes until serious health problems show up. Talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you have any of the risk factors for prediabetes, including:
- Being overweight
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
Race and ethnicity are also a factor. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.
Ready to find out your risk? Take the 1-minute prediabetes risk test and be sure to share the results with your doctor.
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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.
How To Improve Blood Test Results
Identifying the foods or meals that regularly spike your blood sugar too high, too fast, or too long can help you to individualize your diet for longevity.
After a few weeks of testing your blood sugar levels after eating various types of food, you should have a clear record of how your body responds.
A balanced blood sugar results in a greater sense of wellbeing, having more energy, preventing the afternoon crash and feeling hangry , and getting a better nights rest.
Heres what It feels like to have normal blood sugar:
- No extreme hunger between meals
- No sleepiness after meals or mid-day
- Balanced mood
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The Surprising Truth About Prediabetes
Its real. Its common. And most importantly, its reversible. You can prevent or delay prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes with simple, proven lifestyle changes.
Amazing but true: about 96 million American adults1 in 3have prediabetes. Whats more, more than 8 in 10 of people with prediabetes dont know they have it. Could this be you? Read on to find out the facts and what you can do to stay healthy.
Blood Sugar Basics: What Is Blood Sugar
The term blood sugar refers to the sugar, or glucose, that is floating around in your bloodstream at any given time. Blood sugar, or blood glucose is the main source of sugar found in your blood, and comes from the food you eat.
If you are monitoring your blood sugar, it is important to keep these numbers in check according to the American Diabetes Association .
Your blood sugar needs to be in the right range for you to be healthy. At least some glucose is necessary for your muscle, liver, and some other cells to use as fuel so they can function.
At least some sugar is necessary for your cells and organs to function properly. When our blood sugar levels get too low, it is called hypoglycemia. Without enough glucose as fuel, we lose the ability to function normally. This can make us feel weak, dizzy, and sweaty. And it can even lead to loss of consciousness.
On the other hand, blood sugar levels that get too high are also harmful, this is called hyperglycemia. Our blood sugar levels can get too high when we dont have enough insulin, or when our insulin isnt working well. This is the case for people who have prediabetes or diabetes. If it isnt treated, high blood sugar can lead to serious problems that can be deadly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that keeping blood sugar levels in the target range is vital. It can help us prevent serious health concerns like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease, for example.
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Testing For Pre Diabetes
Doctors generally use one of two different blood tests to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. One is called the fasting plasma glucose test in which a person’s blood glucose level is measured first thing in the morning before breakfast. The normal fasting blood glucose level is below 100 mg/dl. A person with prediabetes has a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl. If the fasting blood glucose level is to 126 mg/dl or above, a person is considered to have diabetes.
The second test used in the diagnosis of diabetes is the oral glucose tolerance test , although this test is no longer commonly used as in the past. This test may be used to diagnosegestational diabetes inpregnant women. In this test, a person’s blood glucose is measured in the morning after fasting overnight and again two hours after drinking a glucose-rich beverage. The normal value for blood glucose is below 140 mg/dl two hours after the drink. In prediabetes, the two-hour blood glucose is 140 to 199 mg/dl. If the two-hour blood glucose rises to 200 mg/dl or above, a person has diabetes.
Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
The NIDDK states that gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that occurs during pregnancy if you were not diabetic before getting pregnant. Healthy blood sugar during pregnancy can help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. It can also lower the risk of your baby being born prematurely, at a high birth weight, and having respiratory problems.
Blood sugar and insulin levels during the first trimester of pregnancy tend to be lower than usual, but they rise during the late second and early third trimesters. You can be diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test .
These are the steps for the 2-step strategy.
- Drink a solution with 50 grams of glucose about the amount in 1 16-oz. bottle of a soft drink
- Get your blood drawn after 1 hour. Ig the value is high, retest
- Fast overnight
- Drink a solution with 100 grams of glucose about the amount in 12 peanut butter cups
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1, 2, and 3 hours
Or, your doctor might use the 1-step strategy with a 2-hour OGTT:
- Fast overnight
- Drink a solution with 75 grams of glucose
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1 and 2 hours
These are some values to know from NIDKK related to gestational diabetes and healthy blood sugar in pregnancy.
|Time or Situation|
|Baseline: at least 105 mg/dl1 hour: at least 190 mg/dl2 hours: at least 165 mg/dl3 hours: at least 145 mg/dl|
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Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat
Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.
Its especially important to keep this in mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.
- Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, or rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- The common cold and other illnesses: usually raise blood sugar and insulin needs
- Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- An injury that raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar
While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.
For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.
How Often Should You Be Screened
Every adult woman and man over the age of 45 should be screened for diabetes every 3 years, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
If you have risk factors for diabetes, or if you have prediabetes or symptoms that indicate you may have high blood glucose â such as increased thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision or unexplained weight loss â you may want to be screened at an earlier age . Along with age, common risk factors for diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association’s 2019 âStandards of Careâ, include:
- âFamily history:â Your risk is higher if you have a first-degree relative with diabetes.
- âRace and ethnicity:â African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander folks are at a higher risk of diabetes.
- âHealth conditions:â If you have a history of cardiovascular disease or hypertension, or if you have polycystic ovary syndrome, you have a higher likelihood of a diabetes diagnosis. Low levels of HDL cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides are also a risk factor.
- âObesity:â Having either overweight or obesity is a risk factor for diabetes.
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Glycosylated Hemoglobin Or Hemoglobin A1c
Reflects average blood sugar levels over the preceding 90-day period. Elevated levels are associated with prediabetes and diabetes. Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of a cardiac event. A person with diabetes has the same risk for heart attack as a person without diabetes, who has experienced one heart attack, having a second heart attack. Aggressive global preventive risk reduction efforts, such as lower LDL targets, diet, exercise and blood pressure control, are recommended.
Goal values :
- A range of 5.7-6.4 percent indicates an increased risk for development of diabetes , and lifestyle interventions may be beneficial.
- A value equal or greater than 6.5 percent is considered diabetes.
This test may be measured any time of the day without fasting.
Glycosylated hemoglobin is blood glucose attached to hemoglobin . This test is often called the “diabetes report card.” It reflects the average blood sugar for the two to three month period before the test.
To calculate the average blood glucose level from the HbA1C:
HbA1C level x 33.3 86 = average blood glucose level for the past 90 days. HbA1C can be helpful to track diabetes control over time.
Translating Your A1c To A Blood Sugar Level
Using this easy calculator from the ADA, you can translate your most recent A1C result to an eAG or estimate average glucose level.
You can also use this translation when working to improve your A1c and achieve closer to normal blood sugar levels.
If you know an A1c of 6.5 is an average blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or a range of 100 to 152 mg/dL, then you can look at your current blood sugar results on your CGM and meter and pinpoint which time of day youre frequently higher than this range.12% = 298 mg/dL or range of 240 347 11% = 269 mg/dL or range of 217 31410% = 240 mg/dL or range of 193 2829% = 212 mg/dL or range of 170 2498% = 183 mg/dL or range of 147 2177% = 154 mg/dL or range of 123 1856% = 126 mg/dL or range of 100 1525% = 97 mg/dL or range of 76 120
Normal blood sugar levels in a person without diabetes can result in an A1c as low as 4.6 or 4.7 percent and as high as 5.6 percent.
Just a decade or two ago, it was rare for a person with type 1 diabetes to achieve an A1c result below 6 percent. Thanks to new and improved insulin and better technology like continuous glucose monitors and smarter insulin pumps, more people with diabetes are able to safely achieve A1c levels in the higher 5 percent range.
What Is Blood Glucose
Blood glucose comes from food. As you eat, food is broken down into sugar and sent to the blood. The insulin is what helps the sugar go into the cells. Once this happens, the sugar is either used for energy or stored away.
Glucose is known as the bodys main energy source. Too much glucose in the blood, or if it is not absorbed properly, can create both short- and long-term health issues. To keep a healthy blood sugar level, it’s important to:
- Eat healthy
Whats The Best Way To Reverse Prediabetes
The best way is a combination of 1) whatever way works for you and 2) whatever way is sustainable.
Some people can control their blood sugar with modifications to their diet and lifestyle, while others need medication as well. The most important thing is to collaborate with your doctor to find the treatment plan that gets your blood sugar in check and keeps it there so that you dont develop T2D.
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Common Tests To Check Blood Glucose Levels
Health care providers can use a variety of laboratory tests to check blood sugar levels and determine whether a woman has diabetes. Some of these tests require fasting for 8 hours before blood is drawn. Blood glucose levels that are too high suggest insufficient insulin production, reduced insulin sensitivity or a combination of the two â and could mean that you have diabetes.
âFasting Glucose Levelsâ
The most common test for blood sugar is the fasting plasma or blood glucose test . For an accurate reading, it is necessary to fast for at least 8 hours beforehand, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. For this test, a normal blood sugar range for women is between 70 and 99 mg/dL, the same as that for men.
A woman with a fasting blood glucose level of 100 to 125 mg/dL may have a condition known as impaired fasting glucose or prediabetes, which can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dL or greater may indicate that you have diabetes.
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âOral Glucose Tolerance Testâ
Results between 140 and 199 mg/dL can indicate that a woman may have prediabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. A blood glucose level above 200 mg/dL suggests that you may have diabetes. A normal result for blood glucose level for women is less than 140 mg/dL.
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