Has your doctor ever told you to work on lowering your A1C? If you have diabetes, you've probably heard this advice before. An A1C test measures the average level of blood sugar control you've been able to achieve over the past three months or so. This means that anything you do to help manage your blood sugar better day-to-day will improve your A1C levels too. High A1C levels can lead to serious diabetes complications, all of which are important to avoid. Luckily, with regular efforts and medical help, you have a great deal of control over what your blood sugar measurements will look like.

The only real way to lower your A1C is to take care of your health overall - there's no magic fix. However, there are plenty of ways to get healthier, from diet and exercise to being compliant with your treatment plan and taking your diabetes medications.

Let's explore some of the ways you can work on getting your A1C levels down and improving your overall health.

Back to basics

Diet and exercise are vital parts of diabetes management. Of course, it's easier said than done to get serious about these things, especially since you have probably seen all sorts of conflicting advice. There are websites and books that will tell you an endless number of ways to lose weight and get fit, and it can be hard to know what to believe. Instead of following the latest fad or improvising your own diet, consider making an appointment with a registered dietitian who has experience in helping diabetic people. A dietitian can help you create a diabetic diet that will promote your overall health - and if you adhere to it, you'll be well on your way to lowering your A1C levels.

Exercise is also a necessary part of diabetes management, and you have plenty of options in this area too. It doesn't matter too much what you do as long as you're active for about half an hour every day. Whether that means taking a leisurely walk or getting involved in a sport or other physical activity is up to you. Think of your exercise as part of your daily diabetes care routine, just like testing your blood sugar and taking your medications.

Stay on track

It's also important for you to follow your doctor's orders about diabetes care to the letter. It can seem difficult and fatiguing to manage diabetes in the long term. In fact, diabetes burnout is a recognized phenomenon. If that's how you are feeling, consider how to start getting back on track with your management and medication compliance. Some people find therapy helpful, while other people have found that talking to peers living with diabetes helps them deal with their emotions about their own situations and get more involved in their own health. And of course, right here on Diabetic Connect is a great place to do that.

A lower A1C level is within reach only if you take care of yourself in every way - this goes well beyond just checking your blood sugar and taking your medication. Be kind to yourself and take time to do the things you enjoy even as you work hard at getting your A1C levels down.

For more on A1C levels:

Understand Daily Glucose Testing vs. Your A1C Result
What Should Your A1c Goal Be?
What Does Your A1C Level Really Mean?