If you suffer from a form of diabetes requiring daily injections of the hormone insulin as well as multiple daily blood sugar checks, it's important to know how to bring down blood sugar levels.
Michael Heile MD, a family medicine doctor with The Family Medical Group, tells Local 12's Liz Bonis that those daily checks are critical to knowing how what you're eating balances with medication. But, you also need to know a number called your hemoglobin A1c.
Dr. Heile says a hemoglobin A1c test is most accurate when taken as part of a blood draw and normal levels are critical to immediate good health for most people.
“It tells us what their average blood sugar is for the last two to three months," Dr. Heile explains. Normal levels are usually under 5.7, but many people who do not have diabetes are in the 4s.
Why Should I Lower My A1c Levels?
It's important to note the hemoglobin A1c is not just about immediately getting blood sugar to normal levels; it can alter things such as energy levels and vision.
By maintaining your A1c at a normal level, the long-term results can make the biggest difference overall. Kidney failure, limb loss and many other long-term diabetes complications can all be reduced by keeping your A1c at normal levels.
"Even longevity of life — you can probably make a correlation between well controlled diabetics and how long they are going to live — so it's a really important blood test that gives us all kinds of information," Dr. Heile points out.
How Can I Bring Down My A1c Levels?
- Medication and insulin
- Regular exercise
- Timing of taking medication and when you eat
According to Dr. Heile, even small lifestyle changes can lead to big drops in your hemoglobin A1c. "If they don't eat well to begin with or if they're not at proper weight, we can see drastic improvement with just those conservative types of changes."