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. 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%. Your A1C level should be below 7%. Testing is especially important because early in the disease diabetes has no symptoms. Although no test is perfect, the A1C and blood glucose tests are the best tools available to diagnose diabetes—a serious and lifelong disease.
Exercise has so many benefits, but the biggest one is that it makes it easier to control your blood glucose level. If you’re insulin resistant, exercise actually makes your insulin more effective. That is—your insulin resistance goes down when you exercise, and your cells can use the glucose more effectively. Allow yourself some time to build up to a steady, challenging exercise routine. And be okay with going slow—it’s better for your body in the long run. There are three main kinds of exercise—aerobic, strength training, and flexibility work. You should aim to have a good balance of all three, and should aim to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week. Make a commitment to exercise; make it a priority. Your long-term health depends on it, so as tough as it may be to find time or to motivate yourself to exercise, keep at it. It will help you lose weight, and it will make your body more efficient at using its insulin and glucose. Do not exercise if your blood sugar is too low. This could cause complications. When you do exercise, keep juice or simple candies close by in case your blood sugar gets too low.