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Kendsie Hunter: Diabetes - The Importance of Your A1c Reading

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Every type one diabetic has been poked and prodded multiple times. Whether it is from shots or finger pokes, we all know what it feels like. However, one poke that cannot be avoided is the A1c test.

The A1c test measures your average blood sugar reading from the months between doctor’s visits, usually 3 – 4 months. A nurse will take a small blood sample, measure the level by a machine, and give you a reading from about 5.0 to 10.0. These numbers represent the amount of protein in your red blood cells, also known as hemoglobin. Anything below 6 means you’re in great control; this is where non-diabetics A1c number would fall.

Most diabetics A1c fall between 6 and 7 with some of those crazy numbers that we all have sometimes. The problems begin if your A1c reading is over 7. This means your average blood sugar reading over the past few months was anywhere from 170 to 290! However, you need to check with your doctor for your ideal A1c level; everyone is different.

So, what do you do if your A1c reading is high? That’s a good question for your doctor, but, if you’re between visits right now, I’ll give you some secrets: diet and exercise! Keeping blood sugars in control is all about what we eat, how active we are, and how we adjust for those carbs and activity levels with insulin. Keeping a closer watch on your blood sugar level is a good place to start. If you notice that your numbers resemble a roller coaster more than you’d like them to, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor and talk over your options for better control. Control = good A1c readings, and control comes from a mix of diet, exercise and adjusting insulin and blood sugar levels.

If you have had juvenile diabetes for a long time and your A1c levels have been all over the place, you might wonder what the big deal is. You can’t tell anything is wrong right now, but as diabetics get older, the side effects start to come more frequently. For example, I am 19 right now, and feeling great.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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