Tag Archives: metabolic health

How managing your A1c can help you reach healthy blood sugars

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When it comes to healthy blood sugar control, the A1C is a vital measuring tool. A1c is the short name for glycosylated hemoglobin. Now, this may sound like a mouthful. It is abbreviated to the A1C to make it easier to understand.

The A1c calculated as a percentage point. Blood glucose attaches to the proteins in the red blood cells. The A1C measures the amount of sugars attached to the red blood cells. This is a normal process that occurs in both people with diabetes as well as non-diabetics.

The average red blood cell last about 120 days, the A1c can measure the blood sugar levels over the prior 6- 8 weeks.

When it comes to managing Type 2 diabetes, the A1c can is used in two ways:

To diagnose Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes:

  • An A1c over 6.5% on at least two separate occasions confirms a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • An A1c between 5.7- 6.4% on at least two different times is indicative of pre-diabetes
  • An A1c of less than 5.7% is normal

The A1c can also be used to measure blood sugar control:

The A1c is commonly used to monitor overall blood sugar control. It is important to know what your A1c is. I cannot tell you how many times I have been taken aback by patients who have no idea what their A1c is.

 If you are on a mission to THRIVE despite being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you need to not only knowing what your A1c but also getting it under control.

What should be the target A1c in someone living with Type 2 diabetes?

About 20 years ago, there was a landmark study on people with Type 1 diabetes.  The research found that when diabetes was detected early and blood sugars well controlled, this helped to reduce the complications associated with type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about the complications associated with type 2 diabetes, and other information, you can download this free e-book, which is the first three chapters of my award-winning book.  

According to recommendations by the American Diabetes Association, the target goal for A1c should be less than 7.0%. An A1C of less than 7% correlates with sugars on average less than 140 mg/dl.

For every percentage above 7%, the blood sugars go up about 30 mg/dL. The higher the A1c, the higher the blood sugars. The higher the blood sugars, the greater the risk of complications.

So the goal for most people is to keep the A1c less than 7%

Now there may be some caveats to these recommendations-

For instance, if you over 80 years of age, then tighter blood sugar control may not be a reasonable goal. So have a discussion with your healthcare provider about what a reasonable goal should be at that point. Perhaps an A1c between 7-8% may be a more reasonable goal.

What are some factors that may affect getting the A1c to goal?

 For some suggestions on how to achieve healthy blood sugars, I recently put together a mini-course series which is a collation of prior blog articles on just that topic. To learn more click here.  

In summary, the A1c is a percentage measure of the amount of blood glucose that is attached to the red blood cells. The less the blood glucose attached to the red blood cells, the better the A1c. So we need to focus on what we need to do to achieve healthy blood sugars.

Health Awareness Topic- Is your metabolic health up to par?

According to a recent published study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey between 2009-2016, only 12% of Americans have good metabolic health. This means that 7 out of every 8 Americans do not have good metabolic health. These are pretty dismal numbers by all accounts.

What was concerning with this study was that even people with so called normal body weight may not have good metabolic health!  The paper goes on to warn that these implications pose a high concern for public health.

In today’s article we’ll go over what metabolic health is. Why we need to be concerned about metabolic health. How this is different from other health parameters. How we can quickly assess our metabolic health. Why we need to be concerned about it and finally what are some of the measures we can start taking to improve our metabolic health.  

What is Metabolic health?

Metabolic health is a term that is used to identify a cluster of measurements that could increase the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.   

Metabolic health looks at five measurements. The parenthesis show the normal range.

  • Triglycerides (normal less than 150 mg/dL)
  • Waist circumference (women less than 35 inches; men less than 40 inches)
  • Fasting blood sugars (less than 100 mg/dL; or A1c less than 5.7%)
  • Blood pressure (less than 120/80 mm hg)
  • Body weight (BMI less than 25.0)

Why metabolic health is important?

Your metabolic health is simply looking at these five measurements and comparing it to the normal range. It is letting us know your current health status as it relates to these five categories.

Why are these five measurements important? These measurements happen to be the same measurements used to determine your risk for a cluster of abnormalities called the metabolic syndrome.

If any 3 out of the 5 measurements above are abnormal, then this is called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome there is a higher risk for cardiometabolic disease is higher. To learn more about metabolic syndrome click here.

How to measure your metabolic health

Step 1 -check your weight and take your height.

I usually recommend checking your weight first thing in the morning, after you have used the bathroom and preferably with no clothes on. This gives a more accurate measure of your fasting body weight with no fluid fluctuations that could occur during the day.

Again I prefer this measurement first thing in the morning after a stretch. Stand against a door post and have a friend or family member mark the top most part of your head with a marker.

Next, plug these two numbers into a BMI  calculator.

To calculate your body mass index click here

Step 2-measure your waist circumference

Your waist is the mid-point between the tip of your hip bones and your lower midcage. If you bend to the side the crease you see is your natural waist line. Measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape at this point standing up tall and after you have completely exhaled. In women the waist circumference should be less than 35 inches and in men less than 40 inches.

Step 3 -check your blood pressure

Blood pressure can be measured with a machine called a sphygmomanometer. Most local pharmacies and even department stores have digital blood pressure machines. You can also schedule a nurse visit at your healthcare provider’s office and have your blood pressure checked there. It’s important to take a few deep breaths, sit up straight with your two feet on the ground and using the left arm. It’s a good idea to take three readings at least five minutes apart and then take use the best of the three readings.

Step 4 – have your fasting blood sugar and your fasting lipid panel checked.

You may need to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to have this done.

Once you have all the measurements, you’ll be better able to know your metabolic health.

Remember that knowledge is the first step to personal empowerment. Perhaps your metabolic health is not at par. That’s not really where I want to focus on right now. We already know that only 12% of Americans meet the criteria for being metabolically healthy. So, let’s not focus on the doom and gloom.

What I find reassuring when I look at this information, is that these measurements can be modified. They are called modifiable risk factors.

Modifiable means that you can do something about them.

As I point out in my award-winning book, “Dr. Eno’s A-to-Z Guide to Thriving with Type 2 Diabetes” the first three steps to dealing with any challenge are critical mindset strategies- acceptance, belief, and commitment to change.

Instinctively we know what we need to do, eat ‘healthier’ and exercise more. But if it were as simple as that why do we have an obesity epidemic?

My mission is to provide you with tools which will allow you to create a permanent shift in your way of being so that you can become more empowered in the choices you make when it comes to your overall wellbeing.

In my next article I’ll be reviewing how fasting can help improve your metabolic health.

Until next time,

To your health and wellbeing,

To download a free copy of the first three chapters of my book click here