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The A1C Test & Diabetes

The A1C Test & Diabetes

The A1C Test & Diabetes

What is the A1C test?
The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research.
How does the A1C test work?
The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.
Can the A1C test be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes?
Yes. In 2009, an international expert committee recommended the A1C test as one of the tests available to help diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.1 Previously, only the traditional blood glucose tests were used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes.
Because the A1C test does not require fasting and blood can be drawn for the test at any time of day, experts are hoping its convenience will allow more people to get tested—thus, decreasing the number of people with undiagnosed diabetes. However, some medical organizations continue to recommend using blood glucose tests for diagnosis.
Why should a person be tested for diabetes?
Testing is espec Continue reading

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Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Perhaps you have learned that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. You might be overweight or have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of factors that can raise your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and eye and foot problems. Prediabetes also can cause health problems. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop health problems, so delaying diabetes by even a few years will benefit your health. You can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing a modest amount of weight by following a reduced-calorie eating plan and being physically active most days of the week. Ask your doctor if you should take the diabetes drug metformin to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.1
How can I lower my chances of developing type 2 diabetes?
Research such as the Diabetes Prevention Program shows that you can do a lot to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Here are some things you can change to lower your risk:
Lose weight and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight.1 For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose about 10 to 14 pounds.
Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk Continue reading

The Dangers of Skipping Meals When You Have Diabetes

The Dangers of Skipping Meals When You Have Diabetes

It's tempting -- and even sounds logical -- to skip meals: You're busy, you're not hungry, you're trying to lose weight, or your blood sugar is too high. Skipping meals, however, may actually increase your blood sugar and cause you to gain weight. Here are seven rewards of eating regularly scheduled meals when you live with diabetes.
Reward 1: Improve fasting blood glucose numbers.
During sleep, when you're not eating, the liver sends more glucose into the blood to fuel the body. For many people during the early years of having type 2 diabetes, the liver doesn't realize there is already more than enough glucose present. "Your morning (fasting) blood sugars have much more to do with your liver and hormonal functions than what you ate for dinner last night," says Kathaleen Briggs Early, Ph.D., RD, CDE, assistant professor of biochemistry and nutrition at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Washington
Get more information about why your morning blood sugar is high and tips to help control fasting blood sugar.
Real-life example: Until recently, if Cheryl Simpson's blood glucose meter flashed a high reading before breakfast, she might delay eating until midafternoon in an attempt to lower that number. Now Cheryl, PWD type 2, won't leave home without eating breakfast. Her blood glucose numbers have improved. "Plus, eating breakfast makes it a whole lot easier to make good food choices later on," she says.
Tip: Pack a grab-and-go breakfast with these 13 quick-fix ideas!
Reward 2: Stay off the blood sugar roller coaster.
Irregular eating can have you "bouncin Continue reading

The Connection Between Diabetes, Heart Disease, And Stroke

The Connection Between Diabetes, Heart Disease, And Stroke

Aaron contacted TheDiabetesCouncil with some questions related to diabetes and heart disease.
Aaron is 57 years old. He has had Type 2 diabetes for 12 years. Aaron visited his doctor related to swelling in his ankles and feet, shortness of breath, and weight gain.
After some tests, the doctor informed him that on top of his Type 2 diabetes, he now has congestive heart failure. He was now wondering why did he have heart disease now and was it because of his diabetes?
In order to help Aaron and other people with diabetes understand the connection between diabetes and heart disease and how to prevent it, we decided to look into the specific link between the two diseases.
What is the connection between diabetes and heart disease?
According to the American Heart Association, there exist a relationship between cardiovascular disease and diabetes: 68% percent of people with diabetes who are aged 65 and older die from heart disease and 16% die of a stroke.
People with diabetes are more likely to die from a heart disease than those without diabetes.
The National Institute of Health states the following for people with diabetes:
They have additional causes of heart disease
They are at higher risk of heart disease than those who do not have diabetes
They may develop heart disease at a younger age
Risk assessment must take into account the major risk factors (cigarette smoking, elevated blood pressure, abnormal serum lipids and lipoproteins, and hyperglycemia) and predisposing risk factors (excess body weight and abdominal obesity, physical inactivity, and family history of CVD). Ident Continue reading

12 Powerfoods to Beat Diabetes

12 Powerfoods to Beat Diabetes

Can controlling your blood sugar and preventing diabetes complications be as simple as eating the right foods? Yes. Certain foods are packed with nutrients that stabilize blood sugar levels, protect your heart, and even save your vision from the damaging effects of diabetes. These 12 foods can give you an extra edge against diabetes and its complications.
1. Apples
In a Finnish study, men who ate the most apples and other foods high in quercetin had 20 percent less diabetes and heart disease deaths. Other good sources of quercetin are onions, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, and berries.
2. Cinnamon
A study at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, found that if you use ½ teaspoon of cinnamon daily, it can make cells more sensitive to insulin. Therefore, the study says, the cells convert blood sugar to energy.
After 40 days of taking various amount of cinnamon extract, diabetics experienced not only lower blood sugar spikes after eating, but major improvements in signs of heart health. And you can sprinkle cinnamon on just about anything.
3. Citrus Fruit
Studies show that people with diabetes tend to have lower levels of vitamin C in their bodies, so antioxidant-packed citrus fruit is a great snack choice. It may seem quicker to get your C from a pill, but since fruit is low in fat, high in fiber, and delivers lots of other healthy nutrients, it's a better choice.
4. Cold-Water Fish
Heart disease strikes people with diabetes twice as often as it does people without the illness, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diets high in omega-3 fat Continue reading

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