A Controversial Matter Concerning a Healthy a1c and a Healthy Diet

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2012-04-30 21:02:17 -0500
Started 2012-04-17 18:32:51 -0500

What is the most accurate info concerning a healthy a1c for PWD? What is a realistic goal for PWD to actually aim for?
I often come accross controversial info from members, professionals, and even experts from the Joslin Center for Diabetes here on DC. Some say an a1c below 7 is a good goal and will cut the odds of complications substantially. others say 6.5, and still others say 6.0 or lower is the way to go. Some say get your a1c as low as you can.
I personally have had discussions with a few dieticians, the experts on this site (Ask An Expert) and a few members here on DC. Most professionals that I have talked with seem to feel that in many situations, it would be highly unlikely for a PWD to get the proper nutrition and achieve an a1c equivalent of a person without diabetes or even below 6.0. These are specifically doctors and professionals that practice conventional medicine and its guidelines. Are they wrong???
I would like to discuss the various opinions here in an attempt to gain a better understanding, hopefully for all interested parties. I think a good open, friendly discussion with opinions and sources to back up those opinions would be extremely helpful for all of us. What is your say!!!

62 replies

Young1s 2012-04-20 11:34:30 -0500 Report

Just a quick jump in here. My doctor has always stated to me that she would like to see my A1c get down to 6 for starters, but would love to see it as low as 5. So would I, on both. She says if I can get it to 6 and lose even as little as 10 lbs, I'll have better success with maintaining lower daily BG's and (I'm assuming) holding off any future complications. Makes sense, but like you, I've never been able to get a finite answer as to what would be an ideal A1c. All I've been able to managed is a 7.5 so far, but I'm hopeful that that number will be lower when I take my next labs at the end of the month.

During my last visit, I found out in two previous labs taken before being diagnosed, it was around 5.4. Even though I was probably considered pre-diabetic, the focus at the time was on dealing with my pancreas flare ups, which was then considered the reason for my levels running in the high 200's. The question for me becomes, had it been made thoroughly clear how dangerously close to becoming a diabetic I was, would I have taken the necessary steps or made the lifestyle change required to start living healthier. Sadly, I'd have to say no. It wasn't the right time, nor would I have been in the right mindframe.

I say all that to sort of reinforce what Gabby was talking about. My A1c wasn't low for healthy reasons at all. I was eating like a bird and becoming more malnutritious by the day. Because I only saw my doctor once or twice a year, she was unaware of this until I was in a dangerous state. But I tend to not dwell in shoulda, woulda, coulda land. I just thank God that things have turned around. I feel like I'm more health conscious than a lot of PW/OD…certainly more health conscious than I'VE ever been.

lacat87 2012-04-23 07:49:46 -0500 Report

When you said you had pancreas flare ups, does that mean you had pancreatitis? I also haven't been told what my ideal A1C should be. I know they don't want to me go above 7, but that's all I know. I wonder if different docs. would give different answers. Say one endo would give one number where another doc from somewhere else would say another. And I'm not sure with my type 1 as a result of removal of pancreas and having left over good islet cells transplanted in my liver really puts me in the same category as a natural type 1 as far as A1C results are concerned.

Young1s 2012-04-23 12:29:33 -0500 Report

Hey Lacat. Yes, I did have numerous flare ups due to being diagnosed with alcohol related pancreatitis. It was while I was in the hospital for my last one that I learned that I'm Type II and finally quit drinking. Now, nearly 7 months later, I'm still sober, my pancreas is back to functioning normally and I'm healthier and happier.

I had forgotten that you had to have yours removed. But I can tell by your sunny (and sometimes silly) attitude that this hasn't stopped you or slowed you down in the least. I know of one of our members who is dealing with the fact that their pancreas has stopped working for them. Hopefully they'll come to know that this doesn't mean that life doesn't go on. And that things will be alright.

lacat87 2012-04-24 12:30:38 -0500 Report

Oh my silly and sunny attiude can get me in trouble sometimes, but thanks so much for saying that! Needed to hear that too. I'm so happy you quit drinking. My brother had pancreatitis because of too much drinking also. He told his doctor the pain of having pancreatitis stopped him from drinking again. Altho he did drink non-alcoholic beer! It was from years and years of drinking beer that did to him. Also, thank you for remembering my unique situation of having my pancreas removed. That means a lot to me when people remember it. I love your bright and shiny attitude about our disease!! You are a joy to "know"!!

jigsaw 2012-04-20 18:18:13 -0500 Report

Thanks Patricia! Interesting story that I can definitely relate to. Like you, I have definitely become more health concious thanks to my diagnosis. It was the scare of having diabetes, that motivated me to get as educated as possible, to learn about my health as well as diabetes and its management. I suspect that I am probably more heathy today in spite of my diabetes, then I would be if I was never diagnosed.

DavinaRN 2012-04-19 16:52:14 -0500 Report

I'm new here so what is PWD? As to HgA1C levels my belief and that of my Endo is as low as I can get it within reason, meaning not starting on meds that will cause hypo all the time or taking in so few calories I can't function in the lifestyle I want. My primary doctor's view was my fasting was only 105 so I was fine. I didn't agree with that so requested Endo referral. The reason I wasn't happy with was because 5 yrs ago I was tested due to having Polycyctic ovarian syndrome and even with fastings in upper 70-low 80 and A1c of 5.4, I failed the glucose tolerance test twice. Immediately started metformin (helps PCOS also) and later switched to byetta until started having major lows after lung surgery when I started diet and exercise to control. Now on bydureon, because I'm not happy with my fasting and what worked before isn't.

jigsaw 2012-04-19 19:45:56 -0500 Report

Thankyou DavinaRN for the exact type of answer that I was looking for! Opinions of members concerning what they believe to be a reasonable a1c to aim for. Also I appreciate the mention of your doctors and their opinions on the subject. My primary purpose for this discussion is for all members to see, share and examine the different opinions (of what they consider to be a reasonable a1c), how, and why they have come about this opinion. Hopefully, this will help clear the air for some as to why there are so many conflicting opinions. It might just make it a bit easier for some to determine a realistic goal.

My compliments to you, for taking an assertive role with your doctors and also concerning your health. It appears that you are putting forth the effort to stay on top of your health matters.

How is the Bydureon working out for you? Have you been able to eliminate the lows? There are a few members that have been on it for a while, should you have any questions about it. I am also very curious to know if the diet you were on when you experienced lows, was because of your surgery, or was it a diet to manage your diabetes?
PWD= Person with diabetes !

DavinaRN 2012-04-30 20:42:37 -0500 Report

My fasting is now 70's-low 80's, post meal around 120 so still not as great as I want, but only had 3 injections so far. As to the lows, I was taking byetta at that time and we/more like I think that the reason I was hitting bottom was that since the chronic pneumonia infection was gone with the removal of that lobe (infection raises blood sugar) that the medicine was to strong.

jigsaw 2012-04-30 21:02:17 -0500 Report

What range of blood glucose numbers are you trying to achieve? What does your doctor have in mind? There are many PWD that would like to have the numbers that you mentioned. A fasting of 70 is a bit low, but not terribly so.

jayabee52 2012-04-19 19:57:31 -0500 Report

I really didn't coin it myself. I just use it a lot.

jigsaw 2012-04-19 20:23:52 -0500 Report

Well, it comes in handy, and I prefer it also! Good choice! Who wants to write person with diabetes a dozen times when PWD is so much more efficient.

lacat87 2012-04-23 07:54:43 -0500 Report

Is there anything wrong with saying "diabetic"? I've read here on dc that it's a wrong word to use…kind of like saying that word is detrimental to the person who has diabetes. Your input, along with others, would be appreciated to me.

jigsaw 2012-04-23 08:19:12 -0500 Report

There are some people, that apparently feel offended if they are called a diabetic. I personally don't mind, but I understand the point. If you have the mumps, they don't call you a mump! If you have the measles, you are not called a measle ! So, if you have diabetes, why should you be called a diabetic ? It's a label that can have some bad connotations attached.

lacat87 2012-04-24 12:36:23 -0500 Report

Bad connotations attached? Like what? Still don't understand why they're offended by it. If one has those illness that you mentioned, people say "they are sick with…". The word diabetic is the adjective form of diabetes. I don't mind being called that at all cuz that's what I am. BTW…I was a mump and a measle!!

jigsaw 2012-04-24 13:03:21 -0500 Report

You were a mump and a measle ?? Did you finally rise above and out grow it? I'd hate to think I'm talking to a mump ! Sure you didn't mean a chump and a weasel! (-; Ha Haaa!!

lacat87 2012-04-24 13:21:40 -0500 Report

Oh very funny Al!! No, meant what I wrote. And I'm sure a lot of us boomers were mumps and measles. I also was a chicken pox, too! Yes, I guess I did grow out of it bc I no longer have it! You're too funny today! Keep me giggling like a little girl!! And btw…you didn't answer my question!

jigsaw 2012-04-24 16:32:18 -0500 Report

Ok, the neg connotation is apparently whatever an ignorant persons thinks diabetes to be. Some people just have a mis-notion of what iit is. It could bar you from a job as an example when there is no risk due to diabetes. It can cause young people uncomfortable predicaments because of surrounding ignorance and cruelty that some young people possess.

lacat87 2012-04-25 07:20:01 -0500 Report

Got it, thanks Al! I remember reading an article where an employee was in jeopardy of being fired because he needed to take breaks during the day to check his blood sugar. That is an issue with the Disability Acts, or whatever it's called. That is just wrong all the way around!

jayabee52 2012-04-19 20:34:40 -0500 Report

I usually will type it out he first time and put (PWD) behind it so for subsequent uses in my posting it should be understood. I have taken to doing that with every posting I post — it clarifies it in advance so no such questions occur later.

Copperchef 2012-04-19 16:00:57 -0500 Report

My 2 cents on this whole thing is first get your head in the right place. Make sure that you are comfortable knowing that you are embarking on a life long commitment. Then, sit back and take some time to review some of your dietary habits. Also, talk with all of your health care providers and interrogate them thoroughly, till you are satisfied with their commitment in helping you. Your paying them to assist you in getting the best treatment possible. If you don't like their answers tell them so. Your A1c is only a small part of the picture, it is a window into your body showing you how it is reacting to your care and grasp of what it is you need to do to control the disease.
I had a college professor who taught statistics, his catch phrase was "Figures lie and liars figure", his meaning was that you can extract anything you want from numbers but it is still based on the basics of that person. The same holds true for this disease. All these numbers are guidelines to help us stay on track in our daily lives. They are just reminders of how well we are treating ourselves.
Over the course of time, I have found that a lot of professionals are committed to helping those of us with diabetes. However, there are still a few that if it doesn't affect them, they are very ho hum about the whole thing. Those are the ones you need to eliminate from your life. I changed doctors 3 times till I found the one I liked.
By the way, my A1c now fluctuates between 5.7 and 6.2, when I started 3 years ago it was 11.4. For the first year, I kept a food diary, now it is like second nature, knowing what I can and cannot eat. Or at least not eat a lot of it.
Everyone here has had good advice for you and I think we all see it similarly, this disease is all about you taking care of yourself the right way. Do that and the rest will come with it.

jigsaw 2012-04-20 09:38:51 -0500 Report

Are you addressing me personally with your response? Have you somehow decided that I need to get my head in the right place? Please clarify, because I think you have misinterpreted this entire discussion. There were some misplaced responses that generated a chain reaction that have since been deleted and corrected!!!

Congratulations on your a1c!

Copperchef 2012-04-20 10:59:26 -0500 Report

My reply is not directed at you, but directed as a generalization on your discussion toward those you were talking about who seem to generalize "PWD's". As those of us with the disease, we need them to see our point. How we function or try to function as we learn to cope with this disease. Sorry you didn't see it. Sorry you took offense.

jigsaw 2012-04-20 11:17:42 -0500 Report

Thankyou for clarifying! I wasn't sure how to interpret it! In general terms as you meant it, I agree with what you have said. I think your info can be very helpful to many! No offense taken, to the contrary, your response is very much appreciated.

GabbyPA 2012-04-18 11:19:19 -0500 Report

How you achieve the A1c I believe is more important in some ways than the actual number you have.

What I mean is this. A person with a very desirable low A1c of, lets say, 5.6 is doing the happy dance. I would be. But if they are achieving that by going low several times a week then there is some danger there. Like an anorexic trying to loose weight. The weight comes off, but not in a healthy way. The A1c is an average and there are many things that can affect that number. Like donating blood. That can lower your A1c and you feel like you are doing great, but you may be skewing that number.

If the good A1c is achieved like Nick says, with a good overall lipid panel and there are good exercise and diet habits, then I say get as close to normal as possible. The thing is knowing what your body is doing. That is why we test daily and keep an eye on things more closely than the normal person would.

We have to be honest with ourselves when it comes to that number. Many of us know if we went on a "crash diet" before we got on the scale so to speak.

Nick1962 2012-04-18 19:01:27 -0500 Report

I agree with your first sentence Abby, and should have mentioned that in my response. It just dawned on me that some physicians may see a low A1c as a sign of continued hypo episodes. In which case it would be a concern of a T2 leaning toward becoming a T1. Just a thought

jigsaw 2012-04-18 14:29:50 -0500 Report

Thanks for sharing what i believe to be excellent and valid info and guidelines! Because it is possible for a non-expert to mis-calculate nutritional needs, blood tests are definitely a necessity to have in ones regimen to help guide and achieve good results.

Please note the question that I have asked Nick. I would love to hear your input also. Just asking you to express your opinion with a guess, unless you can offer more. Thanks!

Nick1962 2012-04-18 09:37:37 -0500 Report

I think first, we need to come to a consensus on what is “proper nutrition” for a (T2) PWD. I’ve always been told 1500-1800 calories is the goal. However, if we go by today’s new food guidelines and pyramid, which claims a healthy diet for an active male is 2800 calories, with up to 11 servings of grains per day, are we not already “under nourished”? Realistically, I’m not what most would consider an active male, so 2800 calories daily would make me gain weight. Strike that, not would, DID make me gain weight. So , for me as a PWD, to follow an 1800 calorie diet, I have to cut something out of that pyramid. Since the new guidelines are grain heavy and protein shy, obviously (to me at least) grains, and their resulting carbs and calories come out. I think most medical professionals base their nutritional knowledge on these very generic guidelines that give very little insight into individual food and exercise habits. Because of this, I had to become educated if I expected to become a non-PWD. That said, my eating is directly related to my activity level. I had to learn how much I burn, and when, and try to match that level calorically without going over. Doing that, my last A1c was 4.9. Now I know that low number may have been that he caught me on a temporary low spot, the test was off a bit, or any number of reasons, so 5.4 may have been more realistic. I’m going to try to hit 4.7 next time, but I’ll be happy under 5.5.
All my blood tests came back normal (aside from my good cholesterol being a bit low), so nutritionally, I’m not suffering. At one time it was thought that patients getting a low A1c were consuming too few carbs and replacing them with high fat proteins, which led to heart disease, but no evidence was linked.

jigsaw 2012-04-18 15:42:15 -0500 Report

Thanks for your reply!
What you are saying here sounds clear, precise, and logical!
I have a few questions for you. These are not loaded questions, nor do I mean them to be challenges in any way. Very simply, I am seeking out possibilities and potential answers, and that's all. My doctor did not have an answer to the following. I have followed a low carb diet for many years. My main and most consistent source of fat, was two eggs and occasionally some cheese for breakfast. I did have eggs almost every day, and I kept the cheese to a minimum. My blood tests have been good for the last 18 years or so. Total Cholesterol is currently running about 135, and triglycerides on my last test was 85. All other numbers are very good and checked every 3 to 6 mos. I intentionally keep my cholesterol specifically LDL on the low side because I have a problem getting my HDL above 37.
About 2 years ago I had a CT scan to check a pancreatic cyst. The scan subsequently determined that I had some atherosclerosis in my lower abdominal area. Keep in mind my blood tests, especially lipid panels have been excellent year in and year out. I have even had a thorough blood test to determine my vitamin levels and mineral levels done by an N.D. Just an attempt to make sure all my nutritional needs were being met. Again, everything tested normal.
So now and finally my question to you and ANYONE else that cares to jump in.

What do you think is the cause of this abdominal atherosclerosis? There are no symptoms by the way. It was only discovered due to non related tests. My dietician said I could reverse it with her diet recommedations. I incorporated a few of her suggestions (not all) I also cut back substantially, but not totally on eggs, and 1 year later, took my next scan. No atherosclerosis noted this time!
I still don't know what caused it. Do you care to chance some possibities for the cause, with your thoughts on the subject??? The reason I am asking, you, me and quite a few others here follow very similar diets.

GabbyPA 2012-04-19 09:24:23 -0500 Report

I read through Nick's reply and have to agree with him whole heartedly. I really don't know too much about this subject of atherosclerosis, but I too have been told that as humans, we are not made to eat dairy at all. Breast milk is not anything like dairy, and you can get calcium from many vegetables. Not that I heed that 100%, but I do keep dairy to a far less amount now than I used to. I drink alternatives such as almond milk. I don't even keep milk in the house except as powdered and the family makes what they need because it used to go to waste. My dairy weakness is ice cream and if I keep it out of the house, it is better all the way around.

There are many schools of thought on these things and eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs and fish are about it. We are also not made to eat grains, and look at how most of our diets revolve around grains. I posted an article recently on how whole grains can damage our intestines as well. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/news-articles/7802-grains----especially-whole-grains----increase-intestinal-permeability It is hard to give things like that up, just because we are so used to them.

While these things are part of that, age is the other. If it is also a hardening of the arteries so to speak, then maybe some good omegas will help. Eggs have that, but so does oily fish, coconuts and even the supplements that are good quality can help keep arteries and other parts of our internal workings more supple.

You can't test for everything, that is true. I think that in some ways, it's better that way. Otherwise we will spend all of our time trying to be healthy, but forget to live life. There is a fine balance there. I am not going to live forever, but I want to make sure the time I spent here was lived to the fullest. So I try to keep healthy and do good, but I also make sure I am having some adventures and helping others along my way.

jigsaw 2012-04-19 10:11:53 -0500 Report

Thankyou again Gabby! I agree with you and Nick concerning dairy products. Up until recently, I did not drink milk with the exception of a bit of low fat milk in my coffee. Vegetables, nuts low glycemic fruit, poultry, and some meat is probably 95% of my diet, and has been for many years. Up until recently, I virtually eliminated all processed foods. The only possible source that I won't rule out is cheese. I did have cheese from time to time. I also cut down on eggs. Walnuts, fish (wild Salmon not farmed) fish oil supplements have been a part of my diet for years. I only use EV olive oil when I cook.
The things that you and Nick are pointing out are EXCELLENT and VALUABLE points of information, and I agree whole heartedly. I actually incorporate many of these points in my every day life, which I enjoy tremendously.
Certainly there are things that I have done that were not the best for health purposes throughout my life. But my point is that although I practice a very healthy lifestyle that we pretty much agree on based on your own advice here, I seem to keep hearing advice to do what I say I am already doing! So no point in belaboring this particular point. It was meant to be a tangent and not the whole discussion. Time to move on!!!

Nick1962 2012-04-18 18:50:52 -0500 Report

While I’m not well read on the subject, I have had my fair share of gut issues and know a little. If you mean an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), these are caused in most part by having Atherosclerosis (basically hardening of the arteries). White men over 50 are greatest risk because cell elasticity degenerates, and the abdomen is not immune to that. If that is the case, count yourself truly blessed it was caught before it ruptured. There are claims that we humans were not meant to process dairy after birthing age, and we all know that cheese can be the equivalent of trying to run concrete through a rubber drain pipe. If you’re lucky, it passes before it cures to a hard mass. However, if not it will stress the abdominal walls going through. Like any mechanical reaction, this can only happen so many times before something gives. Your doctor's diet suggestion was probably made to reduce the stress at that point.
I worked for a mortician who was of the belief that there is no such thing as death by natural causes. There is always a failure of some sort. Even simple things, like the incorrect amount of cells forming in an intestine at birth, leaving a weak spot in a wall 50 years later. Since we’re not perfect specimens, we’re bound to have weak links where those failures occur. I’ve had multiple hernias, and have probably done countless unseen things to my liver and intestines which may cause failure down the road, but no amount of testing short of an autopsy would show now. So to answer your question (which really isn’t an answer), it may not have been anything you did, or it could have been everything you did. A flawed abdomen?

Edit: That is one of the things that scares me the most Jigsaw, knowing that we can't possibly test for things like this.

jigsaw 2012-04-19 07:10:20 -0500 Report

Just want to add that the information that you have posted is very informative, and I know it is accurate. Certainly it is a red flag to be cautious with diet and fats in general. I do get a little touchy with the word aneurysm. My brother-in-law experienced a sudden death as a result of an aneurysm. With the medical care that I recieve, and the tests that I have had, so far I am in the clear as to aneurysms. The tests include two CTs, one MRI, and two endoscopies performed at Duke University Hospital. These doctors are noted as some of the best in the country. The tests were not specifically looking for aneurisms, but they more than likely would have detected them.
So, I do appreciate your response concerning a dangerous and potentially fatal condition. Hopefully, I will never have to contend with it!

jigsaw 2012-04-18 21:34:14 -0500 Report

Actually, I meant exactly what I said. I have the printed report of the results and I discussed it with my doc in detail. I am well aware of the difference between an aneurysm and atherosclerosis . Nothing was ever mentioned about an aneurism thankfully. However a few modifications in my diet did appear to eliminate the atherosclerosis. So, back to square 1. I still am not sure what started it. Thanks anyway!

Nick1962 2012-04-19 10:31:48 -0500 Report

Well, then I’ll return to my original hypothesis, assuming you were dx’d with atherosclerosis of the abdomen, it was apparently caught (thankfully) early enough as not to leave you in danger of an AAA. Atherosclerosis (as you already know, but for the benefit of others) is a fatty build-up on the vessel walls which I’ve been told can be flushed away to some degree by changing the diet. The danger comes in when this build-up restricts blood flow, becomes calcified, or portions break off and cause a blockage or damage to vessel walls. Unfortunately, due to lifestyle choices this is something I am at risk for, even without being diabetic, and that only increases my risk.
So if your question is then, if you’ve been following a good diet for the many years you have, why did it start – then I’d have to say that as you’ve already said, maybe the low carb diet isn’t necessarily the perfect diet. But I’ll also add that the low carb thing is fairly recent, and no one knows the long term effects yet. It may also be worth taking another look at your fat intake. You’ve said your main and consistent source was eggs and cheese. A closer look might reveal that there are other sources like chicken and your proteins that are the bigger contributor. As Carol posted, cold water fish, nuts, all have fat (albeit good fat), even beans. Again, I think it’s just an inevitable condition for someone like you (and me) to expect to have to deal with no matter what diet we’re on, and at best once we’ve identified it, do our best to minimize damage. Your body just isn’t as efficient as it once was to stave off such things. Yes, if I had been more in tune back when I was 20 to what ailments I’d pick up in my 50’s, I may have made some other choices, but probably not.

jigsaw 2012-04-19 14:49:53 -0500 Report

Thanks Nick! This is in fact is an answer that addresses my question directly!
I will definitely look into the protien aspect that you mentioned. I never really gave that much thought, nor have I researched it as a result.
I do suspect that ageing and probably some metabolic malfunctioning is playing a role. I don't know if you saw my previous posting where I stated that a blood test 20 years ago determined that my triglycerides were 750. That was just before I was dx'd. I caught it early and had numerous tests done such as doppler on the cathartic arteries etc. I also got my triglycerides down to 80 within 9 mos with diet and exercise. Since triglycerides can be responsible for plaque build up, I certainly have my suspicions there.
Anyway, I found your answer to not only be superb, and informative, but I believe it might lead me to an important missing link of data!!!

Nick1962 2012-04-19 15:28:26 -0500 Report

The reason I say take another look at foods and fat is that at one point I was on a fat blocker called Xenical. To avoid graphic detail, the drug takes fat from your food and directs it out as waste. This is a nasty drug and even after nearly a month of almost sheer veganism, I could not believe how much was still leaving my body. I talked to my doctor and did research. Everything has fat in it, in some cases right down to cell level. In many foods “fat” is what binds the cells to form a solid mass. If we can extract it (oil/fat) from vegetables for vegetable oil, then we obviously consume it.
I hadn’t even thought about metabolic slow down, but I think that would definitely play a part.
Yes, I had seen your earlier post – trigs at 750? If you managed to keep it that high for any length of time, I would imagine that would be a stress to the system, causing somewhat of a “premature aging” of your arteries.
Getting old is hell! Gotta watch what you eat with a microscope, pluck hairs from places they don’t belong, and wish you still had them where they do!

jigsaw 2012-04-19 20:14:25 -0500 Report

So tell me how to grow more hair?…(on my head) (-;
As far as fats are concerned, I don't think I want to eliminate any more foods. This is where I heed the comment made by Gabby about enjoying life. We all have our comfort zones when it comes to sacrificing. I do restrict fats with the guidance of a dietician. I also suspect your recommendation as to taking a second look at foods, and fats, is commendable and certainly can't hurt. I think that it would be very interesting to discuss our diets in detail on a different post or message if you would like. One thing I suspect, is that you are more strict with your diet then I am currently, but probably not more so then I was in the past.

Nick1962 2012-04-20 12:09:39 -0500 Report

Well, I can’t help with the hair, mine’s migrating south with age also.
As for diet, I started this diet as a weight loss program, the diabetic control just happened to be a benefit, and my A1c the result. I’ll start an e-mail to you regarding it soon. I also primarily eat to a calorie level and don’t really pay attention to fats.
More to the point of your original post though, I don’t think we can make a general consensus whether a given A1c is too low or not given all the human variables. You and I are older white males living in the south with apparently the financial means to eat what and when we want. Those factors (and multiple others) give us a “morbidity profile”. Fat in our diets and cellular structure aren’t as important as they would be living say, in Alaska, but we’re also less likely to have a limb removed due to complications from frostbite.
But on your secondary question of why would something like atherosclerosis show up if you were following a reasonably healthy diet – well, I’d look at that morbidity profile as well as diet. That may just be one of your body’s weak areas of expertise. Healthy people die of heart attacks, overweight people live to be 80 plus. I think that maybe your individual morbidity fingerprint has something to do with that.
I’ll see if I can get some diet stuff to you this weekend.

jigsaw 2012-04-20 18:59:02 -0500 Report

As far as morbidity profile is concerned, I agree that this is probably a strong factor in the cause, and a part of the ingredients.
As far as a1c being to low as a generalized and blanketed statement, I remain neutral. I would have to research it much further than I have to come to a conclusion of my own.

I think I understand what you were trying to say with your example of morbidity. Did you actually mean to say that healthy people die from heart attacks, or did you mean that people who appear healthy die from heart attacks? Not trying to nit pick, just want to make sure I understand your point.

I think your diet info would be interesting! As of now i can only make what I expect are accurate assumptions. I also eat to an 1800 cal food plan. and I am working on losing another 8 lbs.

Nick1962 2012-04-21 13:44:47 -0500 Report

Not nit picking at all …was trying to say even people who appear healthy die from things they don't necessarily expect to.

Caroltoo 2012-04-18 22:00:24 -0500 Report

Deleted: don't know how this post got here as it was supposed to be a response to Godstruths posting on Gabby's profile. Mysteries of computer systems, I quess. Whatever — had no relation to this discussion. Please pardon the oops. Carol

Caroltoo 2012-04-19 12:15:47 -0500 Report

Al — I stated that I was addressing that post to a new person and just got it in the wrong spot. None of this was for you … thought I can sure see why you think so, since my other post indicating it was an oops isn't here either. Been having some computer issues and all my posts aren't going through or are being doubled. Most frustrating. Please don't think this simplistic response was for you. I know you much better than that. Carol

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-04-18 00:23:42 -0500 Report

An A1c below 6.0 would be normal range. It is usually in the 5's. Now with diabetes, the closer to that number is awsome. When you consider some may be at A1c of 12 or higher, then being at 7 or 8 is really good, is it the best, no but it isn't the higher number. So, you just have to get good control on your daily diet, portions and get the daily exercise of 30 min or more in that gets the heart rate up and you'll get the number down. You can easily get this info by looking up A1c or diabetes on the internet. Also, ask your dr for pamphlets or contact the American Diabetes Association and ask for them to send you all the info they have on diabetes and they will mail it to you at no charge.

I see you have a dog, great exercise right there and the dog will love it as well:)

jigsaw 2012-04-21 14:12:37 -0500 Report

I forgot to mention, the dog in the picture wil be 14 years old in august! She still takes me for a walk every day for at least a mile. Notice her bikini figure! So you are correct. Exercise does wonders!!! (-;

jigsaw 2012-04-18 07:10:29 -0500 Report

Thanks red flower lady! I am wondering if you have a specific a1c # in mind that might eliminate potential complications for PWD. Also, do you think it is reasonably possible to get all the necessary nutrition, if a PWD aims for an a1c of less than 6.0.

I personally have never agreed in total with my dieticians as an example. If I ate exactly the way they recommend, I would never have the a1c #s that I have accomplished over the years. Same holds true for at least a dozen or so doctors that I have been to over the last 18 years since diagnosed. Most totally disagreed or at least partially disagreed with the modified low carb Atkins based diet that I have pretty much followed over the years. It has worked for me with evolving modifications over the years that I have incorporated. My a1c has been a consistent 6.0—-6.2 ever since I was diagnosed 18 yearas ago. I am still healthy with no complications at all from diabetes. I've done cardio, and strength training from 1 to 2 hours a day, although I admit to slacking a bit in the last 2 years. My a1c has never been below 6.

That is simply just me. I really don't know if what I have done over the years was the healthiest route to take! I am hoping to find the answer, or at least more info that can help me and all of us take a closer look and dig for more info concerning a1c and proper diet guide lines.

Some appear to have very strong opinions as to what is considered a proper food plan for example. Most of us are not experts or dieticians. I am not looking to critisize, but I am hoping to weed out what might be the healthier or healthiest ways to manage diabetes and how members have come to their conclusions!

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-04-18 21:09:44 -0500 Report

Hi, 6.0 is good and since it has been the same for years, well good for you! I can't give you a number that would eliminate complications as everyone is different. The only thing we can do is eat healthy, exercise, keep weight under control and try and keep a positive attitude. Sounds like that is what you have been doing:) If you are worried about your nutrition and you are eating healthy, then add a daily multi-vitamin if you haven't already done so.

I'm a type 1 and have been since a kid, so I have only known insulin. All I can do is try to stick to as healthy of a diet as possible. Do to injury and other illnesses my exercise is lacking for now. I'm so grateful for my handicap pass and hope to get my bounch back soon. Have you looked at the food pyramid(whatever it is called now)? Have you ever gone to diabetes classes or a nutritionist that will help you with your daily life meal plan? We are all different, so we have to take the basic info and tweek it for us. Try not to worry so much about the lack of info/opinions for A1c and just keep doing what has worked for you. Seriously, an A1c of 6.0-6.2 is awsome for a diabetic and many never get close to that.

jigsaw 2012-04-18 22:16:48 -0500 Report

Very good answer, and I agree with all that you have said. Actually, I have managed my diabetes with excellent results. I do exercise, I suspect my low carb diet is very healthy, I have endos and primary care physicians, dieticians, and diebetic educators available through my endo. Very simply I was attempting to focus on and clarify the differences of opinions with members on DC and many professionals concerning a1c as stated in the title of this discussion. By concentrating and focusing on this subject, I am hoping that many of us can decipher enough info and come to a more informed conclusion of realistic goals. I am not asking specifically, what I myself should be doing. Maybe my wording was not clear. You have supplied some excellent info along these lines!

jigsaw 2012-04-21 08:46:17 -0500 Report

Nothing to apologize about! Personally, I like your answers, and agree with what you have said. Your experience is evident by your answers, and I'm sure there are many here that will gain some positive points. Thanks for your response!!!

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