Tag Archives: A1c

What’s The Best A1c?

Covered in coffee and crayons but, here's the Proof
Covered in coffee and crayons but, here’s the Proof

 

I loved how on DSMA the other night, everyone agreed that the best A1c level varied from person to person.  It’s true.  There are so many variables in our lives that differ from others. 

Some people don’t feel when their low.  Some do.  Should they run their numbers the same?  What about a one year old versus a 25 year old?  Some of us are able to test more frequently than others, some have a CGMS and some don’t, some have complications and some don’t, and then there are personal preferences and comfort levels.

My goal for a low A1c seemed odd last night because of how low it is.  I aim to be between 4.5 and 5.  I truly understand why someone wouldn’t feel comfortable running numbers that low.  My goal is what it is because I always feel my lows (starting at 65), I stay at home with the kids all day (so it’s relatively easier for me to test and eat), and because I’ve heard that a non-diabetic usually has an A1c that starts with 4%.  Oh and because I don’t feel well if I run a little higher.  And if I don’t feel well, I’ll get depressed, and if I get depressed, every aspect of my life and my family’s suffers.

I’ve heard other data on what a normal A1c is and so the discrepancy is something I wonder about from time to time.  Is it better to have an A1c of 4.8 than 5.5?  I don’t know.  But, since most of the data I’ve read puts most A1c’s at a 4.-something, then that’s what I go for-providing it’s safe for me.  I’m grateful that I feel my lows.  I’m grateful that I don’t have a hectic lifestyle at the moment (even If I sometimes yearn for more excitement).  And I hope every day that having a low A1c will give me chances closer to that of someone without diabetes. 

Someone once emailed me saying my A1c was “rude to disclose” because it “made people feel bad about themselves”.  First of all, I’m sorry this person felt bad.  Secondly, we have a choice whether we let someone else’s results make us feel bad or not.  Thirdly, I’m well acquainted with my own past A1c’s of 8, 9, 10, and 11% and I have disclosed that, too.  We’re all on a journey to better and maintain health.  If I get a complication and you don’t, I should be happy for you and forgiving (not critical) of myself. 

Someone has also said I must be lying (so above is the picture of my latest lab results).  Luckily the majority of people in the DOC believe one another’s posted results, and that’s nice.

Anyway, the whole truth is, my feet are feeling funny lately…and it may not be diabetes related, but it may be and I’m scared to death.  I’ve limped a lot for the past 7 months and can only work out for about half a month and then I’m sidelined again.  So until I can see a doctor (appointment is in April), I’m going to aim low, try to avoid lows, keep standard deviation low, and <sigh> hope for the best.

Perspective Helps

 

Something that has helped me A LOT in the past (diabetes-wise) was to have a paradigm shift or change in perspective about certain things. 

For example, I still struggle with feeling “poor” sometimes and yet, thinking about those who have no home, no food, no family, or no clean water quickly snaps me back into the “rich” category.

I’ve said this before but, I used to have a terrible time getting my blood sugar to stay below 200.  My goal was that: to keep it below 200.  I would fail miserably and endure lots of 300’s and 400’s. 

Then I thought to myself, “maybe my target should change?”  So I started aiming for 100-all the time.  No mind that this isn’t possible, the point was, shouldn’t I be aiming at the right place in the first place?  Then when I get a little outside my target zone at least I’m still not doing too bad?

I thought this was a silly thing to think although I tried it anyway.  And I couldn’t believe it but, it worked!

It was the equivalent of raising my own bar.  It was bringing up my expectations.  As a result, my actions met these expectations and I got much closer to where I needed to be. 

A major change in perspective also helped me in another crucial area:

I used to feel like the most unlucky gal in the world because of having type 1 diabetes.  And so I blamed every single negative thing in life on my diabetes.  I didn’t push myself through college because: diabetes.  I didn’t have confidence in myself because: diabetes.  I didn’t exercise regularly because: diabetes.  I wasn’t happy because: diabetes.

The truth is that diabetes DOES make everything in life harder.  I know that.  I want you to know I know that.  Problem is, not taking care of our diabetes will eventually make life EVEN harder later! 

I often think, “It’s like I can’t win”.  Maybe you do too, sometimes.  Well, we’ve got to scratch that line from our brains.  We need to just focus on how we’re alive (others have not made it to whatever age we’re at).  We have a roof over our heads (many others do not).  We can afford insulin (unbelievably so, some cannot).  And many of us still have the ability to gently exercise each day, have confidence in ourselves and be happy simply because we choose to, and push forward with our dreams and aspirations even though we’ll have to push much harder than others.  We can! 

And having the right perspective…helps.

PS: Don’t let any negative person tell you that diabetics don’t want to hear that perspective helps.  If we’re humble, we’ll know it’s the truth and if we let it, it helps.

The CGMS. Do you have better diabetes management with one?

Photo courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn
Photo courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn

 

I don’t have a CGMS.  I tried to get one during my twin pregnancy last year because the doubled amount of pregnancy hormones really challenged my blood sugars and of course I wanted great blood sugars while pregnant.  My doctors didn’t support my wanting one though (maybe because my A1c at the time of conception was a 4.6%?).  Three doctors all told me to relax on my diabetes management.  I told them to relax. 

Anyway, I mostly wanted one to catch late night lows and highs that I couldn’t catch during the day when I was awake.  Since I didn’t get one I just tested every hour during the day and this worked well.  I tested every 2 hours during the night and this also worked well (I had to make a trip to the bathroom every 2 hours anyway). 

My question to everyone is, does the CGMS help your blood sugar average?  Does it help you maintain your blood sugars on a more even keel?  Has it helped you lower your A1c?

Before I fight for a CGMS again, I want to know you all really like your CGMS.  I already know how to get a great A1c without a pump and without a CGMS but, maybe there is something you know that I don’t?  (Or maybe I’m doing this the hard way?)

I’m sure there is something you know that I don’t.  This is why I’m asking-no, begging you to share your thoughts on this matter.  I know there are others out there wondering the same thing.  After all, if it is “proven” that the pump and CGMS help lower an A1c than part of me can’t help but want to know what real people say (as opposed to studies).   

One of my main questions is, does having a CGMS help you avoid more swinging glucose numbers?  For example does it help you not have such high highs or low lows?  This, to me, seems like a great help.  Luckily, I feel lows and highs early but, let’s face it, sometimes we’re distracted with life and maybe a beep here or there would save the day?

So what do I stand to gain with a CGMS?  I guess that is what I really want to know :)

Anxiously awaiting your responses!

Take the one question A1c survey

 Hi dear readers :) 

I was wondering if you’d take 30 seconds out of your day today and take this one question poll about where your A1c falls.   This is quick and pain free, I promise. 

When I get the results I’ll report them back to you.  Oh and by the way it doesn’t matter what type of diabetes you have. 

Click here to take A1c survey

Do you think you’re safe with a 6% A1c?

 There is a big debate out there about what is best for diabetics:  tightly controlled blood sugars with a higher risk of hypoglycemia or more loosely controlled blood sugars with a lower risk of hypoglycemia.

Many doctors and the American Diabetes Association like your A1c to be around a 6.5%.  After all, hypoglycemia kills quickly and there is a fear of being sued by patients who had been told to keep tight control.

Yet, damage occurs to the body when blood sugar levels are a tiny bit too high.  So doesn’t it seem like diabetics should aim for non-diabetic glucose levels?

Considering how great I feel at 90 and how bad I feel at 150, I think that uh yeah, I do deserve to have non-diabetic glucose numbers.

I just read an excellent interview over at Diabetes Daily with Dr. Bernstein whose advice I have taken in order to lower my A1c below 5%. 

It is a long interview but, quite shocking and informative.  I strongly urge you to read it here

Something to think about:  the main reason many people say they wouldn’t follow Dr. Bernstein’s advice is because they have been told by their doctor that their A1c of 6% is perfectly fine.  Another reason is that they say they don’t have the discipline to follow the advice about a low or lower carb diet.

Well, so you and I either work up some discipline or suffer the consequences right? 

I know diabetes is hard and I know you just want to eat that spaghetti.  Me too.  But, don’t you want to keep your sight and limbs?  Don’t you want to be able to see your grandkids grow up?  Well, I do.  And if you want, you can say I’m as stubborn as a mule (my husband already does).  But, it is one thing or the other.  We don’t eat what we shouldn’t and have great diabetes management or we enjoy our pancakes and struggle with that post 200 reading.  Obviously what we eat is just part of what we must do.  It has a huge influence on our diabetes, however, so we should take it very seriously. 

I mean you take your meds right?  Maybe food should be looked at like a prescribed medicine.

I have often stated the mental aspect of diabetes is the most difficult.  And I have written on the subject of discipline.

Check out here: my widely read article on Diabetes, self-discipline, and a paradigm shift Part 1 and Part 2.

And keep up the good fight.  You’re worth it.

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