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  • Writer's pictureWayne Drury

Know about Diabetes & A1C

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

What a change in life. Before being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, I had only a faint clue about A1C. Now, it is my “gold standard” for information and something I wait for every three months with trepidation. My goal is to get below 6.5 percent, even though the Harvard Medical School suggests that an A1C between 7% and 8% is probably just fine.

Please note your target A1C and all other factors that may affect your diabetes treatment should be confirmed by your doctor and diabetes treatment team.

Currently, my A1C is 7.3%, so I only have 0.8%. Achievable? I think so. I am going for it, and below I provide some of my thoughts which may help you. My goal in all of this is to provide information and support to you on your quest for a better quality of life living with diabetes. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, I would be more than happy to hear from you by email.

What About Blood Sugar?

The level of blood sugar is critical to determining your quality of life. Uncontrolled blood sugars can lead to terrible consequences – blindness, amputations, kidney failure, heart disease, and even death.

One fellow I know with diabetes eats all the wrong foods, is overweight and lives on the premise that I am “going to die sometime, so he might as well die happy.” We can all lead a horse to water, but we cannot make the horse drink. That is the situation with the fellow I know.

Seeing him hobble around, having lost 6 of his ten toes and most of his teeth from infection, is sad. Surprisingly, he began a lifestyle change regime a couple of weeks ago, but much of the damage has already been done. No more 4 x double Macs with cheese, double French fries and a large regular coke for him – I hope.

What to Do?

That was the first question to my doctor when he announced I had Type II diabetes. My doctor’s response was pointed and short. I could:

1. Have a short life, or

2. Have a change in lifestyle that would put me on a path to a better quality of life living with diabetes.

For me, it was a no-brainer. I picked Number 2, and what a shock as I quickly learned how frustrating setting up a treatment plan, researching diabetes, and all that goes with that would be. I was left alone to work out everything else, only to check back with my doctor, who prescribed my medications.

For me, it went without saying that lifestyle changes were the cornerstone of my Type II Diabetes treatment. Cutting out a large portion of my diet was the first impact. No more 400-gram steaks or hotdogs, sausages, processed meats, rice, potatoes, and desserts, were just a few items that were out. It was a shock to my system and, for a while, very frustrating as I learned what I could and could not eat.

I had to go “cold turkey” to have any chance, and now, I am researching the impacts of many foods on my goal to lower my blood sugar. For example, last night, I had three homemade chocolates with no sugar, figs, blueberries and 80% cacao. No impact on my glucose level at all – Yahoo, and now in moderation, those can be part of my diet.

And possibly taking the same approach, you can discover foods to take back into your diet. Foods like potatoes, which I am now able to eat three small ones with no impact. Or 100 grams of brown rice.

These are all foods I had dropped but now can enjoy in moderation towards my goal of a better quality of life living with diabetes.

How Often Do I Test?

For my daily testing, I argue there is nothing better than having an electronic sensor such as the LifeStyle Libre 2 or another make. I mention the Libre 2 as it is less expensive than others, and it works well for me.

In researching the impacts of food on my system, having access to continuous readings is very important. The added cost per month is about $120. But for me well worth it to help me on my path to a better quality of life living with diabetes.

With an electronic sensor, there is no added cost to testing numerous times per day for monitoring blood sugar. For testing A1C, the standard appears to be every three months, but a good topic for questioning with your doctor.

What Do A1C Results Mean?

The A1C test measures the glucose (blood sugar) in your blood by measuring glycated hemoglobin. “Hemoglobin is a protein within red blood cells. As glucose enters the bloodstream, it binds to hemoglobin. The more glucose enters the bloodstream, the higher the glycated hemoglobin.

The A1C test results provide insight into how your treatment plan works and how it might be modified to control your diabetes treatment better to lower your blood sugar to a better quality of life living with diabetes.

Tips for Lowering A1C?

Your A1C score is helpful, but it is not the only indicator of your diabetic health. These indicators, anything that you feel or see in changes to your diabetic symptoms, should be discussed with your doctor and health care team.

I look at managing my diabetes as a job, and I encourage you to consider it this way. It takes time and effort, but focusing on having a better quality of life and living with diabetes is a pretty good objective.

What Can You Do?

Exercise, exercise, workout. I make at least 30 minutes per day on a stationary exercise bike. A movie or the news on my iPad, and I am ready to go.

Here are a few ideas that can improve your day-to-day blood sugar management and lower your blood sugar

Begin an Exercise Plan you enjoy

It could be any exercise if it is regular. The trick is to get moving, keep track of the time per day and go for 150 minutes per week.

Why not think of taking the exercise in small bits? Set a goal of one week – and at the End of the week, see how much your glucose readings have dropped. Then stretch to two weeks.

Exercising is one of the best ways to lower blood sugar, so take a week after talking to your doctor and see how you make out.

The Diabetes Diet

This is where I tend not to listen to the “experts.” People are good at telling me what I cannot eat or how much to eat. I belonged to a nutrition program but decided to conduct my own diabetes research to see what foods I could eat and how much.

I began by going to an almost extreme protein and fibre diet. Not that it hurt me, but it gave me a starting point to examine what foods I could eat. And so far have lost 8 Kg in 8 months.

I now regularly have the following:

  • Approximately 200 grams of meat.

  • Approximately 200 grams of lettuce and tomato salad with apple cider vinegar and oregano dressing. I stay away from store-bought food as much as possible – too much sugar and too much salt.

  • Approximately 200 grams of lightly steamed vegetables sprinkled with lemon juice.

  • Sometimes approximately 200 grams of potatoes or pasta or sweet potatoes.

My approach was to begin slowly adding carbs back into my diet. This approach worked for me, and it might work for you. My goal is to help you on a path to a better quality of life, living with diabetes. If you have any questions, comments or queries, please Email me.

Portion Sizes?

Many suggest that portion size is essential. You can even buy what I call the baby’s plate with three divided sections to help with portion sizing. Sorry, not my cup of tea with a plastic plate staring up at me while I eat my portion sizes.

I say “estimated” because I make my portion sizes what I want. I always have meat, a vegetable, and a salad. I may also have some carbs like potatoes or rice within my limits.

I do not see any magic bullet to portion sizes – it is more about what and how much I want to eat at any given time. My moderation comes from knowing that I will gain weight if I overeat, which is contrary to my overall diabetes treatment plan.

How you deal with portion size is entirely up to you. I do not react well to hard and fast rules. My approach allows me flexibility and a sense that I am doing this for myself.

Stick to a Schedule

Easy to say but hard to do with life, family, work and all the other things that get in the way. A schedule does help and may be possible for you. Please consider and discuss with your healthcare professional team what works best for you.

Once You have a Diabetes Treatment Plan, Stick with It.

Your healthcare team is there to support you. Driving a diabetes treatment plan that suits you can only come from you. Your treatment team is there to help. As always, it is best to have their agreement on such things as starting a diet deficient in carbohydrates, beginning a new exercise regime, or making any medication changes.

The End of it All

Many out there do not know they have diabetes. I do not count myself as a fearmonger, but we must look reality in the eye. Diabetes is a terrible disease if not discovered and treated correctly; think about the fellow I know who is down to two toes and missing teeth. There are other serious consequences, too, that all lead me to the conclusion that everyone should be tested and get on a path to a better quality of life living with diabetes. We can lead the horse to water, but we cannot make it drink.

Please get tested, and if found to have diabetes, it is only a short step to having a better quality of life living with diabetes. Go for it, and if we at can help in any way, please email us.

Best wishes…

Wayne Drury was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes over one year ago. He was frustrated with the lack of usable information on the treatment of diabetes and how to lower blood sugar effectively. His passion now, using all he has found with diabetes research, is helping others on a path to a better quality of life living with diabetes, which he shares on his personal website.

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