Call it what you will: hemoglobin A1C, glycosylated hemoglobin, HbA1c or just “A1C,” these numbers, known as A1C levels, play a huge role in how your diabetes is managed. It’s also used to diagnose diabetes, as well as prediabetes. Your A1C is a blood test that provides information about your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. Your provider and diabetes care team use this number to gauge how things are going and if and how to tweak your diabetes treatment plan. For most people who have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends an A1C of less than 7 percent. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) advises a tighter goal of 6.5 percent or lower. Your goal may be completely different, and that’s OK (just make sure you know what it is!).
- Why lower your A1C?
- How long does it take to lower your A1C levels?
- Seven ways to lower your A1C levels
- How Long Does it Take to Lower A1C & Ways to Lower A1C
- What is A1C Test?
- How Beneficial is the A1C Test?
- How Long Does it Take to Lower A1C Levels?
- What Do the Scores of A1C Indicate?
- What are the Ways to Lower A1C?
- 6 Ways to Lower Your A1C Level
- What is hemoglobin A1C?
- How are hemoglobin A1C levels measured?
- How is the A1C test different from a blood sugar finger prick?
- What does it mean to have high or low A1C?
- How do I lower my hemoglobin A1C levels?
- 1) Diet
- 2) Exercise
- 3) Weight loss
- 4) Medications, if needed
- 5) Follow up with your healthcare provider
- 6) Manage stress and mental health
- 7) Find a community for diabetes self-management
- What is the Importance of Lower Hemoglobin A1C Levels?
Why lower your A1C?
A1C goals aren’t decided upon out of thin air. The targets that the ADA, AACE or your provider advise for you are based on clinical research, as well as other factors, such as your age, your overall health and your risk of hypoglycemia. Landmark clinical trials, such as the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC), for example, have correlated lowering A1C with a decrease in diabetes-related complications. So, for every one point that you lower your A1C, you’ll lower your complication risk as follows:
• Eye disease by 76%
• Nerve damage by 60%
• Heart attack or stroke by 57%
• Kidney disease by 50%
It’s important to realize that your A1C levels reflects an average of your blood sugar numbers. Your A1C levels might be 6.7%, but that may be because you’re having a lot of low blood sugars, for example. For this reason, your A1C levels should be viewed as part of the picture, and not in isolation. Your blood sugar readings, frequency of highs and lows, and quality of life need to be considered as part of your overall diabetes management plan.
How long does it take to lower your A1C levels?
Is it possible to lower A1C levels overnight? Well, the short answer is no. Unlike your blood sugars, which can go up or down in a matter of minutes, your A1C will take some time to change. Remember what your A1C measures: your average blood sugars over the past three months. The good news is that if your A1C is on the high side, say, 10% or higher, it will likely start to drop within two to three months (in other words, the higher it is, the faster it comes down). On the other hand, if your A1C is 7.5%, it may take a little longer to lower A1C levels.
Seven ways to lower your A1C levels
There are a number of ways to get your A1C down. Taking medication is one way (and the reality is that many people with diabetes need to take medication), but lifestyle measures are effective, too. Here’s a rundown of what can work.
What and how much you eat factors in to your blood sugar control and, in turn, affects your A1C. There’s so much controversy about the best “diet” for diabetes and there’s no shortage of arguments on this topic. However, realize that there is no one “diet” that will work for everyone. And despite popular belief, the American Diabetes Association does not prescribe any one type of eating plan. In actuality, they state that many different types of eating patterns, including lower carb, vegetarian, DASH and Mediterranean can be beneficial. One of the best ways to figure this all out is to meet with a registered dietitian, preferably one who has experience in working with people who have diabetes. Your doctor can provide you with a referral to meet with a dietitian. In the meantime, consider the following for lowering A1C levels:
1. Come up with a plan
Getting into the habit of eating three meals a day, and possibly some snacks, is a great way to get started on controlling A1C levels. In addition, aiming to eat your meals at about the same times each day will make it easier to stabilize your blood sugars. Try not to skip meals or delay eating your meals as much as possible.
2. Be carb choosey
Carb naysayers will proclaim that carb foods are evil and should be avoided as much as possible. But reality and research shows otherwise. It’s difficult for most people to cut out carbs and it’s not the smartest thing to do from a nutrition standpoint, as carb foods can and do provide important nutrients that you won’t get from eating just protein and fat. However, you do need to consider the types of carbs you eat. Refined carbs, such as white bread, white rice, chips, soda, cookies and other sweets have been stripped of their fiber and most of their vitamins and minerals; contain “empty” calories; and can cause “spikes” in blood sugars. Eating refined and processed carbs has been linked to an increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, and obesity. The carbs to focus on are unrefined, meaning, they retain their fiber, vitamins, minerals and other plant compounds that promote health. These carbs include whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables and legumes (beans and peas).
3.Be carb consistent
Along with eating healthy carb foods comes the concept of carb control for controlling A1C levels. Eating too much carb from any food source can mean higher blood sugars and a higher A1C. Aim to eat the same amount of carb at your meals and snacks each day. Many people count grams of carb and aim for a range at their meals — for example, 30–45 grams per meal. Doing so helps you keep your blood sugars steady, whether you take diabetes medicine or not. Because people do need different amounts of carb, it’s best to check with a dietitian as to what your carb goals should be.
4. Watch portions
Eating too much carb is one thing; eating too much protein or fat is another. Keep an eye on your portions of all of the foods that you eat, especially if you are trying to lose weight (losing weight, if you need to, can help lower your blood sugars and A1C). Using the plate method or sample menus are a couple of ways to help you get on track with an eating plan.
We’re all bombarded with messages to exercise or be physically active, and after a while, it’s easy to tune them out. But if your goal is to lower your A1C, it’s time to pay attention. Yes, carb counting and losing weight helps, but don’t overlook the power of physical activity, too. Exercise provides numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, weight loss, increased energy and a lower risk of depression and stress. Add lower blood sugars to the list.
5. Come up with a plan
If you haven’t been active for a while, you might be wondering how to get started. The first step is to think about what you might like to do. One of the best ways to get moving is to start walking. All you need is a good pair of sneakers. However, bicycling, swimming, using an exercise video or taking a Zumba class, for example, are all great ways to be active.
6. Commit to 150 minutes each week
One reason why people don’t exercise is because they think they need to spend hours at the gym, huffing and puffing away. Not true. The goal is to aim for doing at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, or 30 minutes, five days a week. And the good news is that you can break those 30 minutes into 10-minute segments, three times a day. If you haven’t been exercising, start slowly and build up, 5 minutes at a time. By the way, don’t forget to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
7. Combine cardio and resistance
Exercises that strengthen your heart and lungs and that use large muscle groups are often called aerobic or cardio exercises. These include walking, swimming and bicycling. Ideally, your exercise routine should also include resistance, or strengthening, exercises, such as using hand weights, resistance bands, calisthenics or weight machines. Both types of exercise work in different ways to promote health, but they both lower blood sugars and A1C.
More on how to lower your A1C next week!
Want to learn more about A1C? Read “How to Lower Your A1C: More Steps You Can Take,” “What Does A1C Stand For?” and “H-B-A-1-C: What It Is and Why It Matters.”
En Español: Cómo Reducir los Niveles de A1C Naturalmente
Tweak your plate. Experts advise filling about half your plate with vegetables that are low in starch, such as carrots, greens, zucchini, or tomatoes. One-quarter of your plate should be a lean protein like chicken or tofu, and the last quarter should be whole grains like brown rice or quinoa.
Make a plan. The guidelines for what to put on your plate give you a lot of flexibility. But even though it sounds simple, you’ll probably be better off if you plan your meals. Why? If you skip set menus and eat on the fly, it’s easy to end up with calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate food choices — like fast food, bagels, and frozen pizza — that will cause your blood sugar and A1c numbers to soar.
Instead, at the start of each week, pencil in a rough plan for what foods you’ll eat at each meal and what groceries you’ll need. This way, you’ll be prepared with plenty of choices that limit post-meal blood sugar spikes. A Mediterranean diet, which is low in saturated fat and high in vegetables and fruit, reliably lowers A1c numbers.
Maybe downsize your weight loss goal. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight. But if you are, you may not need to drop as much as you think to make a difference in your A1c level.
If you’re overweight, diabetes doctors will often recommend you try to lose just 5% to 10% of your current weight. Here’s why: As you shed extra pounds, the insulin in your body lowers your blood sugar levels more efficiently, which will cause your A1c levels to drop over time. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who lost 5% to 10% of their body weight were three times as likely to lower their A1c by 0.5%.
You may have a different goal for your weight or other health considerations on your mind. Ask your doctor to help you make a weight loss plan that matches your overall goals.
Rethink your exercise plan. Other than upgrading your nutrition, exercise is one of the most important habit changes you can make to lower your A1c. But don’t just grind it out on the treadmill, or you’ll miss another effective workout: strength training.
How Long Does it Take to Lower A1C & Ways to Lower A1C
What is A1C Test?
A1C is a blood test that is done to diagnose diabetes in a patient and also to check how well the patient is managing his/her diabetes if already diagnosed with it. A1C gives information regarding the patient’s average blood sugar levels over a period of 2 to 3 months. The score of A1C test is indicated in percentage. The greater the percentage of A1C, the higher will be the average blood glucose level and the higher is the risk for diabetes or its related complications. A1C test cannot be used for gestational diabetes. However, A1C test is helpful in predicting the likelihood of someone getting diabetes.
How Beneficial is the A1C Test?
The A1C test measures the amount of sugar or glucose which is attached to the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The more the percentage of the glucose attached, the higher will be the level of A1C.
A1C is a groundbreaking test as this test:
- Doesn’t need fasting.
- Gives an average picture of blood sugar levels over a period 2 to 3 months.
- And this test can be done at any time of the day.
How Long Does it Take to Lower A1C Levels?
The average life span of red blood cells (RBCs) and hemoglobin is 120 days. During this period the glucose molecules are exposed to the RBCs which result in formation of glycated hemoglobin. So, theoretically any change in the A1C levels won’t be obvious for at a minimum of 120 days which is the time taken for the affected red blood cells to complete a life cycle. The time taken to lower the A1C level also depends on the target level of the patient. If the A1C level of the patient is in double digits, then it can take around 2 to 3 months to lower the A1C level given that the patient strictly adheres to the management plan of his diabetes.
What Do the Scores of A1C Indicate?
A normal A1C score should be below 5.7 percent.
A1C which is in between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates that the patient is prediabetic. Being prediabetic places the patient at risk for developing type 2 diabetes in 10 years. However, steps can be taken to prevent or delay the progression from prediabetes to diabetes. If test is positive for prediabetes, then patient should get re-tested every year.
If the A1C score is 6.5 percent or more, then it indicates that the patient has type 2 diabetes. Patient should try and keep the A1C levels below 7 percent to prevent the complications of diabetes.
What are the Ways to Lower A1C?
The level of the A1C can be lowered by making some small changes to the diet, exercise regimen, medication and patient’s overall lifestyle. Given below are some simple ways to lower the A1C level:
Short Sessions of Moderate to High Intensity Exercise: According to studies, patients with type 2 diabetes who did about 15 minutes of exercise thrice a day for about 5 days a week at 85% of their target heart rate were successfully able to lower their A1C levels when compared to patients who exercised for about 30 minutes a day at 65% of target heart rate. However, it is important to consult your doctor before trying any high intensity exercise and always wear a heart rate monitor to prevent from overdoing it. If the patient is not used to any type of exercise, then it is recommended that patient start slowly for about 10 to 15 minutes of brisk walking then increase the time and intensity. Regular exercise is a sure shot way to lower the A1C level.
Consuming Whole Foods: Eating whole foods, such as vegetables and fruits, instead of juices help a lot in preventing your blood sugar level from spiking. When whole foods are consumed, such as an orange or an apple then the patient is consuming fiber, which helps in slowing down the speed at which the body absorbs the sugar. If you take fruit juice instead of a whole fruit then there is zero fiber in it which causes the sugar to go straight into the bloodstream. Additional benefit is that the fiber present in whole foods helps in retaining the feeling of being full longer which leads to less overeating.
Use a Small Plate for Cutting Down Portion Size: Using a small plate for meals instead of a bigger one can trick your mind and eyes into thinking that you are eating more than you actually are. This will create a feeling of satisfaction with lesser amount of food, especially in case of starchy foods. For example, one-cup serving of pasta looks very less on a plate, however, it fills up a small bowl and makes us think that we have eaten sufficient amount of food. So, controlling the quantity of food which you eat helps in bringing your A1C levels under control.
Getting Enough Sleep; No Less, No More! According to studies, long or short periods of sleep were associated with increased levels of A1C regardless of diet, physical activity, obesity or any depressive symptoms. Getting very less sleep or sleeping for long hours is associated with increased risk for high level of A1C. However, the quality of sleep was not studied in this research.
Dropping the Pounds: If the patient is overweight, then losing the excess pounds by following a healthy diet and exercise regime goes a long way in lowering the A1C level.
Putting it on Paper: Maintaining a journal of results of home blood testing and writing down the time of meals and the type of meals taken, with the time and duration and type of exercise or and how the patient has felt before and after all of these etc. etc. is important, as all this information helps not only the patient, but also the doctor in determining how the blood sugar levels are affected by the patient’s diet and lifestyle. Thus, writing in a journal makes it easy to make appropriate changes in improving the management plan of A1C levels.
6 Ways to Lower Your A1C Level
You can lower your A1C by making changes to your:
- exercise regimen
If you already have diabetes and are taking medications that can cause low blood sugar levels, find out your optimal levels. In people at risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), for example, it may not be safe to keep their A1C level below 7 percent.
The medications that lower fasting blood sugars will also lower your A1C level. Some medications primarily affect your blood sugars after a meal. These are also called postprandial blood sugars.
These medications include sitagliptin (Januvia), repaglinide (Prandin), and others. While these medications don’t significantly improve fasting glucose values, they still lower your A1C level because of the decrease in post-meal glucose spikes.
Here are six ways to lower your A1C:
1. Make a plan
Take stock of your goals and challenges. A plan will help you figure out your biggest challenges, like:
- losing weight
- coping with stress
- eating a healthy diet
Planning will also help you set goals. Form small steps you can take to achieve your goals in a reasonable amount of time.
2. Create a diabetes management plan
If you have diabetes, create a diabetes management plan with your doctor. Your plan should include:
- emergency contacts
- medical instructions
- medication list
- target blood glucose levels
- instructions on how to test
- information on how often to test
- plan on how to correct low blood sugars
Keeping everyone on the same page is the best way to manage diabetes safely and bring down your A1C levels.
3. Track what you eat
Use an online tool or print out a chart to record what you eat and when you eat. Tracking what you eat makes you aware of foods and behaviors you can change to decrease your A1C. This can also help you monitor your carbohydrate intake, which is important for managing blood sugar.
4. Eat a healthy diet
To eat a healthy diet, do the following:
- Take in fewer calories than you burn.
- Choose foods with less trans fats and fewer added sugars.
- Eat fewer processed foods.
Take a tip from Michael Pollan’s book, “Food Rules”: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made from a plant, don’t.” So, you don’t need to avoid eating “healthy” carbs to lower your A1C.
Managing diabetes and lowering A1C is about monitoring how many carbs you’re eating at one time. It’s beneficial to choose healthier, nutrient-dense carbs, like fruits or sweet potatoes. But make sure to account for how much of them you’re eating at one time.
Most people need about 45 to 60 grams of carbs per main meals and about 15 to 30 grams for each snack. If you want to enjoy watermelon, for example, account for about 11 grams of carbs per 1 cup diced.
5. Set a weight loss goal
Losing weight is important if you’re overweight. But you can’t manage diabetes with fad diets. Lifelong changes are key. Eating healthy, whole foods low in fat and calories that work with your lifestyle will help you make a change for life.
Keep a fat and calorie counter to help you make smart choices. Even losing 5 to 10 percent of body weight decreases chances of getting diabetes by 58 percent. Small amounts make a big difference.
6. Get moving
Increase your activity level to get your A1C level down for good. Start with a 20-minute walk after lunch. Build up to 150 minutes of extra activity a week.
Get confirmation from your doctor first before you increase your activity level. In the Diabetes Prevention Program at the University of Pittsburgh, being more active was key in reducing the risk of developing diabetes.
Remember: Any exercise is better than no exercise. Even getting up for two minutes every hour has been shown to help reduce the risk of diabetes.
If you have prediabetes, diabetes, or are at risk of developing either, your healthcare provider may have mentioned your hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C or A1C) levels. You may have been told that your A1C should be lower. If you’re still unsure exactly what an A1C is and how can you lower it, read on for a simple explanation and 7 reliable tips.
What is hemoglobin A1C?
Your blood is full of red blood cells. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout your body. Glucose (sugar) also travels through your blood and can bind with hemoglobin. When the 2 come together, they create what’s called hemoglobin A1C, also known as glycosylated hemoglobin, HbA1C, or A1C.
How are hemoglobin A1C levels measured?
An A1C test measures the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin in your blood. Your A1C is written as a percentage and gives you an idea of how well-managed your blood sugar levels are over a period of 2 to 3 months. It’s also one of the numbers healthcare providers use to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes.
How is the A1C test different from a blood sugar finger prick?
To measure your A1C levels, you need a blood sample either in a tube for an A1C test, or as a drop for a finger-prick test. The A1C test is a more accurate representation of your blood sugar than a quick finger prick because by measuring your glycosylated hemoglobin, it reflects your average blood sugar over several months. A finger-prick test measures the actual sugar in your blood, which changes throughout the day, and only tells you how much sugar is in your blood at that very moment. Both of these tests are important for overall blood sugar management and control.
What does it mean to have high or low A1C?
Higher than average A1C levels means that there is too much sugar in your blood. If your A1C is 6.5% or more on an initial test and on a repeat test, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) considers this to be a positive diabetes diagnosis. Diabetes can increase your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye disease
- Nerve pain
The ADA sets guidelines for healthy A1C targets. For the average, non-pregnant adult who has been diagnosed with diabetes, the ADA recommends a target A1C of less than 7%. Based on your medical history and other current medical conditions, your healthcare provider may prefer that you aim for a less strict or more strict A1C.
How do I lower my hemoglobin A1C levels?
It’s important to understand that lowering your A1C levels is a gradual process. Your A1C, unlike your finger-prick glucose test, measures your average blood sugar over a period of 2 to 3 months. That means it can take up to 3 months to notice significant changes in your A1C.
Here are several ways you can work on lowering your A1C over time.
Diet is an important factor in your blood sugar levels. You probably know that carbohydrates (sugars) can increase your blood sugar levels. But your body also needs a certain amount of carbs to work correctly. A tip for meeting your body’s needs while keeping carb intake under control is to eat more proteins, non-starchy vegetables, and low-sugar fruits. This includes:
- Whole-grain bread
Do your best to avoid carbs like:
- White bread
As you check your blood sugars after meals, you should start to see patterns in how specific foods affect your levels.
Your body produces a hormone called insulin which moves sugar from your blood to your cells. If you have too much sugar in your blood, your cells cannot absorb sugar as well as they should. This is called insulin resistance and is one cause of high blood sugar and high A1C levels. Exercise is a reliable way to bring your A1C levels down because it helps jumpstart your body’s natural insulin activity.
If you’re an adult with type 2 diabetes, the ADA recommends participating in aerobic activities and resistance training. These activities include:
Daily activity is ideal, but if you must skip a day, the ADA suggests no more than 2 days of inactivity between exercise sessions.
3) Weight loss
Since everyone has a different body structure, weight loss is specific to you as an individual. A study has shown that weight reduction of 5% to 7% may be enough to lower the risk of diabetes in people who are at high risk and/or have prediabetes. If you already have diabetes, weight loss can help you reduce the quantity or frequency of your medications. Using the diet and exercise recommendations above can help achieve these weight loss goals.
4) Medications, if needed
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to help lower your A1C. But remember, these medications don’t work unless you take them consistently. Whether or not you “feel fine,” you are at risk for serious complications if your A1C levels are high. Take your medications the way they are prescribed to you. If side effects or cost concerns keep you from taking your medications, let your healthcare provider know.
5) Follow up with your healthcare provider
Communication with your healthcare provider is important in monitoring your A1C levels and diabetes treatment. Your provider may schedule an appointment with you every 2 to 3 months. That’s because it takes about that long to see changes in your A1C. Attending these follow-up visits can help you find out if your A1C levels are headed in the right direction.
6) Manage stress and mental health
According to the ADA, stress can directly impact your blood sugar levels. When your body is under stress, it gets ready to either fight or run from the source of stress. Your body needs energy in the form of sugar to do this, so a hormone called cortisol is released to increase the levels of sugar in your blood.
Since day-to-day life can be stressful, finding ways to manage and lower that stress is key to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. You might enjoy calming activities like:
Try a few different soothing activities to discover what type of stress management works best for you.
7) Find a community for diabetes self-management
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, know that there are plenty of people in the world who are also working to manage these conditions. Connecting with others in similar situations can be an excellent way to find support, stress relief, and accountability. Plus, you’ll likely learn tips and strategies for managing your diabetes even better. Ask your healthcare provider about support groups or meetups for people with diabetes.
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Anyone living with an adverse health condition knows that it can be more difficult to qualify for a life insurance policy compared to someone in good health. Since any condition that affects life expectancy is typically considered as an increased risk to the insurance provider, applicants with various health issues are oftentimes either denied coverage or rated substandard and required to pay a higher premium to compensate the insurance company for the increased risk.
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may or may not know that your blood glucose levels will affect your premium payments for your life insurance policy. In fact, of all the criteria and factors that go into pricing life insurance policies for individuals with diabetes, your glucose level is considered to be the most important since it indicates how well you’re controlling your condition. If you’ve already applied for a life insurance policy and you were told that a medical exam is necessary, there are several ways to lower glucose levels quickly and naturally to increase your chance of receiving a lower premium rate.
What is the Importance of Lower Hemoglobin A1C Levels?
The amount of sugar, or glucose, in your body changes over the course of the day. These changes will depend on whether you have exercised as well as when, what, and how much you have eaten. Typically, a “normal” fasting blood sugar level falls between 70 and 99 mg/dL. However, ideally, a diabetic should have an average fasting blood sugar level of less than 130 or 140 mg/dL, but the very best readings for type 1 and type 2 diabetics falls in the range of 100 to 120 mg/dL.
The life insurance company with whom you apply will likely perform an A1C test to determine your average blood sugar levels over a period of time, usually the past three months. In most cases, the A1C test is beneficial because a blood glucose test may not be accurate, and the former can offer an average reading to gauge how well you’re managing your diabetes.
How to Lower Your A1C Levels Without Medication
If you already know that you’ll need to submit to a medical exam in order to obtain life insurance, you may be wondering how to lower A1C levels fast. Insulin is the medication that will lower your blood glucose the quickest, but you will need to know how often to give correction doses, when to inject, and how much insulin you should use.
However, if you’re wondering how to lower A1C levels naturally and without insulin, the most effective way is to engage in physical activity. Exercise increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin and causes your muscles to absorb more glucose so there’s less of it circulating throughout your body both during and after the exercise. The result? You’ll have lower blood glucose levels when you test. According to the American Heart Association, you should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day for at least five days per week.
Examples of moderate physical activity include:
- Using an elliptical machine
- Bike riding
- Brisk walking
Keep in mind that although exercise is an effective method for anyone looking to lower their blood glucose levels, physical activity should be a part of your lifestyle and not just used as a tool for producing an acceptable A1C test result.
Dietary changes are also among the first actions diabetics take when faced with considering how to lower A1C levels naturally. Not only will a healthy, well-rounded diet make you feel good, but eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones will lower your blood glucose during the process. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars which are then transported by insulin into cells, but when you have issues with insulin function or eat too many carbs, this process can’t work, and your blood glucose levels will increase.
In order to develop a diet and get the best possible results on your A1C test, it’s important to concentrate on low glycemic index (GI) foods that are less likely than others to increase blood glucose.
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Stone-ground wheat
- Steel cut oats
On the other hand, the highest GI foods include:
- Instant oatmeal
- White bread
- White rice
Other foods known to help your body regulate out-of-control sugar levels include blueberries, avocados, chia seeds, mangos, certain spices, vinegar, eggs, olive oil, cherries, and cinnamon. In fact, the journal Diabetes Care published a 2003 study indicating that cinnamon causes liver and muscle cells to respond more readily to insulin. As a result, the body can better balance its blood sugar, and less insulin is released into your body.
Also, remember that if you’re wondering how to lower A1C levels with diet, it’s important to limit processed foods and junk foods to achieve lower blood sugar. These items contain extra sugars that can throw off your hopes of receiving a life insurance policy at an affordable rate. Instead, focus on whole foods to see a positive difference in blood sugar.
Although engaging in regular physical exercise and watching your carbohydrate intake are two effect ways to naturally lower A1C levels, here are some other easy ways to keep your blood sugar in check in the months leading up to the big exam:
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Implement portion control.
- Drink water and stay hydrated.
- Control your stress levels.
- Get enough quality sleep.
- Eat foods rich in magnesium and chromium.
- Lose weight.
Lower A1C Levels and Life Insurance Rates
Once you follow these tips and you’re able to keep your A1C levels low before your life insurance medical exam, it’s also important to know how the underwriters will look at your condition. When determining premium rates for life insurance coverage for diabetics, the insurance company will review the results of your tests. If you obtained a reading on your A1C test that is lower than 7.0, you’ll likely be able to obtain the best rates on your policy. In these instances, you can typically expect a standard rating, and, in some cases, you may even receive a preferred rating if you’re in excellent health in all other areas.
You may also be able to obtain coverage if your A1C test result falls between 7.1 and 7.5. However, if your result is 8.0 or higher, you may only be able to obtain a severe substandard rate. This means that you’ll likely be paying two to three times more what someone with a standard rating would pay for the same coverage. Depending on how well you’re able to manage your blood glucose levels, it may make more sense to apply for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy where you are not required to submit to a medical exam. Still, in most cases, the lack of medical exam also comes with a higher premium price tag, so it’s important to do your research before applying for a specific type of life insurance policy.
Final Thoughts On Keep A1C Levels Low For Life Insurance
Whether you’re just starting to think about ways to lower your blood glucose or you’re searching for the most effective ways to keep your A1C levels low before your life insurance medical exam, engaging in regular exercise and making dietary changes can help you to keep your blood sugar in check. Being aware of your condition and taking the appropriate steps to lower your blood glucose will not only increase your chance of a satisfactory rating and low premium on your life insurance policy, but you will be able to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle for months and years to come.