You’ve probably heard the term “A1C” on television in commercials for diabetes medicines, but you may be unaware of what it means and how it relates to diabetes. If you are the family caregiver to an aging adult who has been diagnosed with diabetes or who is at risk for it, understanding A1C could help you to better manage their condition or risks.
A1C is a Test
A1C is a test used to gauge the average blood sugar level of a person over a two or three-month period. The test helps people with diabetes and their doctors to determine if their blood sugar levels have been remaining within an acceptable or target range. The test is also used as a tool for diagnosing diabetes. The results of the A1C test are reported as a percentage. When a person has diabetes, a doctor usually administers the test twice per year.
A1C and eAG
Sometimes doctors refer to the results of the A1C test as eAG, which means “average glucose.” Using eAG is sometimes easier for diabetics to understand since it uses mg/dl, which is what patients’ glucose meters use. However, eAG is not the same as using the readings from the patient’s meter to determine an average number. This is because the eAG represents the average glucose levels 24 hours a day instead of just the glucose level for the moment in time when the patient uses their glucose meter. This distinction is important because people usually check their blood sugar levels at times when they are likely to be lower, such as before a meal or right away in the morning.
A1C Test Results
The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C level of 7 percent. However, your parent’s doctor may suggest a different target that takes into consideration other factors. An A1C of 7 percent translates to an eAG of 154 mg/dl.
If your parent’s A1C is higher than their doctor recommends, there are steps they can take to lower the score. Some ways to lower your parent’s A1C score are:
- Follow the Plan: Your parent’s doctor should create a management plan for your parent to follow. Make sure that all family caregivers and home care providers are aware of the plan and what they need to do to follow it. If everyone works together, there is a greater chance that your parent can lower their A1C score.
- Track Food and Exercise: Your parent, their home care providers, or family caregivers should keep a notebook that tracks what your parent ate and when they ate it. They should also track physical activity. This can help your parent and their doctor to see how their actions affect the A1C score and allow for adjustments, if needed.
- Eat Right: Your parent may have been referred to a dietician to teach them how to eat healthy. If so, follow the dietician’s advice. If your parent has not been given a meal plan to follow, focus on a diet that is low in calories and contains lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains.
- Exercise: Adding in some extra physical activity can help lower blood sugar levels and decrease the A1C score. Check with your parent’s doctor before they begin exercising. If your parent worries about exercising because they are afraid of injuring themselves, a home care provider can sit with them while they exercise so they worry less.
When your parent sees the doctor for an A1C test, be sure to ask for the score. Then, help your parent to follow the doctor’s suggestions. Your parent’s home care provider can also help them to maintain or lower their A1C score. They can assist your parent with preparing healthy meals and encourage them to be physically active. In addition, a home care provider can remind your parent to take medications and to check their blood sugar levels.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Woodland, CA, please contact the caring staff at ApexCare®. Proudly Serving Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, Solano, San Joaquin & Stanislaus counties. Call Today 877-916-9111.
Since then, I have had a strong interest in helping and supporting our senior community as they age and are unable to care for themselves.Coming from a family of physicians, I am excited to be involved in the medical community by providing the highest levels of non-clinical in-home care to our clients and their families.With my work experience, I firmly believe that ApexCare can touch many lives and have a great impact on our local senior community.
Prior to joining ApexCare, I worked in a wide variety of industries and have owned multiple businesses ranging from construction to mortgage banking.Outside of work, I am an active youth soccer and basketball coach, having coached recreational soccer for over 8 years and elementary school basketball for over 4 years.I graduated with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received a Masters of Management degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.My career has been focused on building great organizations that deliver the highest absolute levels of service to our clients.I look forward to continuing this passion with ApexCare.