Do You Have Diabetes? Here Are Five Steps You Can Take to Control Your A1c.
March 15, 2023
If you have diabetes, it’s important to manage your condition to lower the chance of complications. A combination of medicine, healthy eating, regular physical activity, and managing stress are all part of a healthy lifestyle that can help with diabetes control.
One of the most important things you can do is keep track of your hemoglobin A1c. The A1c test is a blood test that’s usually done to diagnose diabetes or pre-diabetes. It measures the overall control of your blood glucose (blood sugar) over the last three months.
Your primary care provider or endocrinologist can check your A1c. By meeting your A1c target, you can help keep your heart healthy and are likely to live longer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should check your A1c level every three to six months. Most people with diabetes have a target A1c level of less than 7%. Some special groups like pregnant women or older adults may have a different goal based on what their doctor recommends.
Controlling your A1c is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here a few tips to keep you on track:
1. Track your A1c levels over time.
This will help you understand how your behaviors and lifestyle affect your diabetes control.
2. Follow your medication schedule.
Take your medicines at the same time every day, as prescribed by your doctor. Medication reminder tools like Medisafe* (a free smartphone app) or a pill box can be helpful. When you go to the doctor, tell them about all medicines you are taking to avoid any interactions. Bring a list of your medicines with you.
3. Eat healthy.
Don’t skip meals. Watch your serving sizes, and limit desserts and sweetened drinks.
4. Make time for exercise.
Doing 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity every day can help control blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes complications. Ask your doctor what exercises are safe for you.
5. Reduce your stress.
If stress is affecting you, find ways to relax. This may include meditation, spending time with friends, or watching your favorite movie. Ask your doctor for help if you have been feeling sad or overwhelmed for more than a week or two.
Earn rewards for taking care of your diabetes!
PCHP members age 18 and older can earn a $10 reward annually for completing their A1c blood test once every six months. Members age 15 and older can also earn a $10 reward annually for completing their diabetic (retinal or dilated) eye exam. Learn more here.
*Terms and conditions may apply.
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