Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on May 23, 2016
Pixeldust Studios<br>National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Step 2: Know Your Diabetes ABCs - A1C, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol, "Prevent diabetes problems: Keep your diabetes under control," "Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes."<br>Mayo Clinic: "A1C and blood glucose monitoring: Know the differences."<br>American Diabetes Association: "A1C and eAG."<br>U.S. News & World Report Health: "2 Ways to Lower Your A1C Levels Without Medication."
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Your A1C measures the amount of sugar in your red blood cells and gives an average of your blood sugar over a three-month period. Why is that important? After all, when you have diabetes, you already check your sugar pretty often.
Well, over time, too much sugar, or glucose, in your blood can damage your heart, nerves, kidneys, and eyes. So keeping your A1C down can reduce your risk.
If your number is too high, there's a lot you can do to lower it. Eat a healthy diet that's high in fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Talk to a nutritionist about how many carbs to eat. And choose foods that won't spike your blood sugar. Exercise at least three days a week for at least 45 minutes. Finally, talk to your doctor to find the right treatment for you.
Your doctor may do an A1C test every three to six months. Track your results and watch your progress over time.
With careful monitoring and some lifestyle changes, you have the power to lower your A1C. So take control of your blood sugar. And know your number.