We hear all the time about needing to improve our A1C levels but what is actually the best range? I refuse to use normal anymore. Have you ever looked it up they consider normal? I did and was scared spit less. A “normal” person’s average is from 4 to 6. If you look that up on an A1C chart that means your average blood sugar is between 65 to 135. If I found my blood sugar below 80 I would be running for the candy store let alone at 65. A diabetic is expected to get below 7% which is 172. Better but I have had past doctors get greedy and try to lower it farther. Better than 6.7%? It hasn’t been that low for a very long time but at one point it was and he wanted it even lower. 6.7% is about 161. Now stop and think about how a diabetics system works and what this means. This is an average over 3 months which means that you have had blood sugars that have gone both above and below this number. This is the average. Now since getting this CGM hooked up I have noticed that after I eat, and this is with one the fastest acting insulins you can get, it jumps up to nearly 300.So that means if it is 161 it would need to drop to less than 40 to balance this equation out much lower than that and there is little chance of coming back. Also notice how mush faster the sugar gets in than my insulin does. Now keep in mind this is an average so it is based on time as well as number. Meaning if it gets high but only stays there for 3 hours it can be balanced by getting back to maybe 90 for many more hours 7 or more? My problem is that I see any blood sugar below 100 as low and will eat to bring it back up.
Here’s why, I have found over the years that any workout I do drops my blood sugar. Well maybe plummet would be a more apt description. I have had a high of 300 drop to 80 in 3 hours just as I have had it go the other way. That’s drop of more than 73 mg/DL each hour. After I eat it goes up. way up. I need more insulin you say. What happens then when I do work out and it drops again? Now I will start that drop from 220 and it will end at wouldn’t that be 0, nothing? I have to eat and gain more weight just to maintain an even keel as far as blood sugars are concerned.
I was on a pump years ago and because of that fiasco will never let one be hooked to me again. I have already been asked more than once to consider it because of my wild roller coaster blood sugars. “Absolutely not” was my response. “We can control the insulin each hour and fix the highs and lows. Well I heard that before and it never happened. Even after a year they could not get it set right because my exercise level is so volatile. I have talked about it here before about how bad it was. The first week the ambulance was called out almost everyday to wake me up because my blood sugars fell into the 30s and lower. The machine the ambulance uses only goes down to 18 and it registered low once since it didn’t go that low. Sorry, not going through that experience again thank you very much. Even after almost a year they couldn’t get it set right.
It gets so frustrating and depressing to try something new that is promised to make your life so much better and have it go so far the other way. My idea had been to use the pump, being promised to clean up the lows and stabilize my A1Cs, to get a CDL license and start to earn more money. Boy did that mission fail. Not only did it remove any chance I had at getting a CDL but caused other issues.
So the question still stands, what is the best A1C level? Do you go low into the 7% and to be even bolder down below 6%? I’d be having a panic attack every time its below 100 so getting below 8% would be a stretch for me. Am I at high risk for retinopathy, yes. Kidney failure, yes. Heart attack, yes. Does that scare me into going lower with my A1C, not even close. Those are issues that if you listen to the “experts” I should have every one of them already. After having A1C from 10s and now in the 9s (that’s 279 to 243 averages) a good portion of my adult and teenage life, I should have all of that. The only issue I have had in 38 years of being a diabetic is retinopathy in my left eye years ago. Blood pressure is fine despite having a family history of heart issues on my mothers side.
I am not happy with how far my blood sugar ranges but I am not letting it get micro managed to the point where I am eating so much I gain more than what I have already. I still eat a lot more than I should but only because my metabolism seems to jump up and down as much as my blood sugars. Strange isn’t it that a persons metabolism (exercise level) is tied to their blood sugars?! Some recent studies show that it is not always in the best interest for a diabetic to get their A1Cs too low. Look them up on line and check your own data to see where you are and where you want to be.