A1c 8.1 Questions

If you have prediabetes (i.e. an A1C score between 5.7 and 6.5 percent) you should check your A1C score once a year.

For people who have type 2 diabetes, check your A1C score twice a year if you don’t take insulin and your blood sugar level is consistently in target range, or check your A1C score four times a year if you use insulin to manage your diabetes and your blood sugar level is not consistently within the target range.

A1C scores are accurate up to .5%, so if you’ve scored a 6.89 percent, your actual score can be anywhere between 6.39 percent and a 7.39 percent. This is why doctors will test your A1C score twice before diagnosing you with diabetes – they want to make sure the reading is accurate.

There are a few common reasons why your A1C score will have errors or misreadings.

  • A1C tests for patients who experience chronic bleeding may yield a false low.
  • A1C tests for patients who have iron deficiency anemia may yield a false high.
  • If your body produces a form of hemoglobin variant different than the normal hemoglobin A, your test can be inaccurate. This is more likely for people of African, Southeast Asian or Mediterranean descent. An example of hemoglobin variant is present in people with sickle cell disease, which changes the lifespan of red blood cells.
  • Patients who are going through hemodialysis might have false lows because the processes may be filtering the glucose out of the patient’s bloodstream.
  • Patients who have had a recent blood loss due to surgery or a heavy menstrual cycle may experience a false low.
  • Liver disease, sickle cell anemia and kidney failure can cause your reading to be inaccurate.

Additionally, your A1C percentage can be off by as much as half a percent based on the margin of error. While that might mean the difference between being diabetic and prediabetic, if you’re a half a percentage away from developing diabetes or prediabetes, you should make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your score.

According to the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, a calorie-restricted diet can lower your A1C score. It is recommended that you restrict your diet to between 1,200 and 1,500 calories.

Your recent actions have a stronger impact on your A1C score than your actions further in the past. However, all actions from the last 3-4 months will have some type of effect on your A1C percentage score. Consider purchasing a blood glucose monitor to keep track of how your body reacts to changes on a daily basis and make modifications accordingly.

For example, test your body’s carb tolerance by checking your blood sugar before you eat, tracking your carbs in that meal and then testing your blood sugar every hour after. You want to hit your original number by hour three; otherwise, you need to reduce your calorie intake.

Ideally, your blood sugar will not go up more than 30 points after the meal. Your blood glucose should never be higher than 140, but you should aim for 120 or lower. If your blood glucose level is higher than 140 at any point, you should reduce your calorie intake.

A person with type 2 diabetes can lower their A1C score by losing 5 or 10 percent of body weight. One method is to avoid refined carbohydrates, which are high in sugar and calories. Reducing consumption of refined carbohydrates, like sodas, juices and desserts, can help you reduce your calorie intake, which helps you lose weight. Additionally, you’ll be reducing the amount of glucose your body has to manage.

You might also try to lower your weight by doing mild exercise, which has added benefits. Mild exercise increases insulin sensitivity in your cells, making it easier for the insulin to remove glucose from your blood. Also, your muscles use up glucose when you exercise, which can lower your blood sugar levels.

Vitamins, like Vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium reduce your insulin resistance. Talk to a doctor or a nutritionist to learn about what proportions of each will be best for your body.

You should avoid stressful situations. When you’re stressed, your insulin levels fall to ensure that your body has sugar and energy readily available to fuel you. Additionally, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which causes body tissue to be less sensitive to insulin. Both of these effects last 6-8 hours and cause glucose to be more potent in the bloodstream.

If your score is higher than when you last checked, try to pinpoint what caused the change. In the last 3-4 months, have you experienced stressful events, poor exercise habits, poor eating and mess-ups with medication? These can all cause increased A1C levels. Once you understand what caused your A1C score to increase, you can figure out how to avoid what caused it to rise in the first place and begin decreasing the percentage of glucose in your hemoglobin.

At the moment, you cannot cure your diabetes. You can cause your type 2 diabetes to go into remission, which would mean you don’t have any signs or symptoms of diabetes, but you would still have diabetes.

There are three forms of remission that your body can have: partial remission, complete remission and prolonged remission.

When you have partial remission, it means your blood glucose level or A1C score has been similar to that of a person who has prediabetes rather than diabetes for at least a year, and you haven’t been taking any medication to cause that. When your body is in complete remission, your blood glucose levels and your A1C score are normal. During complete remission, you’re not taking any medication, and tests seem to indicate that you don’t have diabetes for at least one year. Prolonged remission is the same as complete remission, but it has lasted longer. Prolonged remission lasts for a minimum of 5 years.

People who have experienced remission typically follow strict diets and personalized exercise routines.

You can reduce your A1C score without medication, but you should consult with a doctor to ensure that is the best course of action for you. After you talk to a doctor, he or she may recommend that medication is the best option for you. Nonetheless, your doctor will also recommend non-medicinal ways to lower your A1C score, like modifying your diet, participating in mild exercise and reducing stress.

You can reduce your A1C score through restricting your calories to between 1,200 and 1,500 calories a day. It’s generally safe to start by cutting 500 calories out of your diet per day. About 50 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates, a third should come from fat and a fourth should come from protein.

You should also moderate your carb intake. You can test out what the right amount of carbs is for you by using a blood glucose monitor. Through this process:

  1. Test your blood glucose before you start eating.
  2. Enjoy a delicious meal and record what you eat in a food journal.
  3. An hour after eating, test your blood glucose level. Is it above 140? If your blood glucose is above 140, you ate too many carbohydrates in your meal. You should reduce them in a meal tomorrow and follow these steps again. If your score is below 140:
  4. Test your blood glucose two hours after eating. Has your blood glucose returned to the level it was at before you ate? If it has this is a good amount of carbohydrates for you to eat in a meal. If not:
  5. Test your blood glucose three hours after eating. Has your blood glucose returned to the level it was at before you ate? If it has this is a good amount of carbohydrates for you to eat in a meal. If not, you should reduce the carbs in your meal tomorrow and follow this process again.

You can also do blood glucose tests to see how your body reacts to some foods versus others. Consuming soda, juices, desserts and other refined carbohydrates will negatively affect your diet. After your testing, you can figure out which foods have the smallest impact on your blood glucose level? Those are the foods you should be eating in your diet!

Mild exercise causes your muscles to use up glucose, which can lower your blood glucose levels. Additionally, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin hormones. That makes it a lot easier for insulin to remove glucose from the bloodstream.

These steps will also help you lose weight. For people who have type 2 diabetes, losing 5 or 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your A1C score. People who have higher A1C scores will see more profound changes to their scores as they lose weight than people who have lower A1C scores, but on average people’s A1C scores drop by 0.1% for every 2.2 pounds they lose. That’s not necessarily because the weight was causing the diabetes but because the actions you take to lose the weight help reduce your blood glucose level.

Lastly, avoid stressful situations. Stress causes the body to reduce insulin levels and increase levels of growth hormone and cortisol. Your body wants you to have more glucose in your body to give you energy and help you cope with the stress. The growth hormone and the cortisol cause your body tissue to be less sensitive to insulin – the opposite effect as exercise. These effects can last for 6-8 hours. During that time your insulin will not be removing glucose from your blood, which will make it difficult for you to control your blood sugar.

A1C Scores Lower than 8.1

A1C Scores Higher than 8.1