Understanding why A1C Levels Fluctuate

The A1C test is a blood test that checks for diabetes. If you have diabetes then the level of A1C shows how well you are managing your blood sugar levels and whether the treatment plan is working for you or not. The A1C test also provides information about the average levels of blood sugar over a period of two or three months prior to the test. If you have type 2 diabetes, then chances are high that by now you are already adept at managing your blood sugar or blood glucose levels and you already know what your A1C test will throw up. However, sometimes one comes across a fluctuation in their A1C levels and there seems to be no possible explanation as to why there is a big shift. Let’s try to understand why A1C levels fluctuate and what you should make of your results.

What is an A1C Test?

To begin with, one needs to understand what A1C levels are all about. The A1C test is one of a major blood test that screen for diabetes. The results of the A1C blood test shows how well you have your condition under control and whether or not the current treatment is working for you. The A1C test can also provide a lot of information about how your average blood sugar level has been over a two to three month period prior to the test.

The blood test result is reported as a percentage and a high percentage indicates a blood glucose level, while a low percentage indicates the opposite. A high percentage also indicates that your risk for diabetes and other diabetes-related complications is also much higher.

The reason why the A1C test is groundbreaking is due to the following reasons:

  • The results of the A1C test gives the correct picture of your blood glucose levels over a period of weeks and months, instead of just at one point of the day, as fasting sugar tests indicate.
  • A1C test can be done at any time of the day, making it easier to give and make a better and more accurate diagnosis.
  • The test does not require you to fast.

Sometimes, though, there are certain factors that affect your blood glucose levels and you might not even beware of such factors. However, these factors can lead to severe complications such as blindness, kidney disease, heart attacks, or even amputation. It is important that you remain well-attuned to how your daily activities and schedule has an effect on your blood glucose. This will help you understand why there is any fluctuation in your A1C test levels.

You should remain aware of the situations and behaviors that are not generally associated with blood glucose fluctuations, but they may cause a fluctuation in the A1C test level. By learning about such circumstances, you will be able to prevent any serious problems in the future.

Understanding Why A1C Levels Fluctuate

Let us look at some of the reasons why A1C levels fluctuate:

Changes in Your Supplement Schedule/Regimen

Taking a supplement of something or the other has become the norm for people today. There is a supplement for nearly every vitamin, mineral, and even herbs and any other thing you can possibly imagine. However, what many diabetic patients do not understand is that many types of nutritional supplements have an impact on the results of the A1C test, leading to inaccurate test results.

For example, a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, if you have a high level of vitamin E in the bloodstream, it can cause a false increase in your A1C levels. However, on the other hand, the excessive presence of the vitamins B9 or B12, also known as folate or folic acid, can cause a reduction in the A1C levels. Vitamin C can also cause the results to fluctuate any other way, depending on whether the A1C is testing through electrophoresis or chromatography. If the A1C test measures the results through electrophoresis, then it can lead to a false increase in the results. If the test measures by chromatography, then it is likely to lead to a false decrease in the results.

This is why before making any changes to your supplements, it is necessary to consult your dietitian or doctor.

Apart from certain supplements, there are many types of prescription medications as well that can have an effect on A1C test results. These include medications such as Virazole (ribavirin) and Intron-A (interferon-alpha). If you are taking a prescription medication that might impact your blood sugar levels, then it may affect the results of your A1C test. It is important to discuss the same with your doctor or your pharmacist before taking the A1C test.

Misdiagnosis

If you suddenly find that your A1C test results have fluctuated out of control, then it is very much possible that it is a case of misdiagnosis and that you do not have type 2 diabetes at all. In fact, according to data from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there are above 10 percent of people who get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes actually only have latent autoimmune diabetes (LADA). The chances of people having LADA becomes higher for people who are under the age of 35 years. Nearly 25 percent of people in this age group are more likely to have LADA, and not type 2 diabetes.

A study was done in 2015 at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University in Denmark showed that the symptoms of LADA can be managed with the same treatment plan used for managing type 1 diabetes. The condition of LADA progresses much slower than typical diabetes, but it also requires insulin treatment after a period of time.

If you have been under treatment for type 2 diabetes for many years, then a sudden fluctuation in the A1C test results may be a sign that your condition has changed to LADA. If you suspect this to be the case, then you should consult your doctor at the earliest.

Stressful Life Event

Chronic stress of high levels of stress to a life event raises your blood sugar levels and also increases the risk of insulin resistance. At times you may recognize that you are under high levels of stress, but there are times that you do not come to realize that you are suffering from high levels of stress. High levels of stress increase the levels of many hormones in the body that in turn raises the levels of blood glucose. The surprising part here, though, is that even the most positive life event can actually be a big source of stress for your body.

This is because your body is unable to distinguish bad stress from good stress. You will not typically associate a good and happy event in your with an out-of-ordinary A1C test result, but there could very well be a connection. The big happy events in your life may very well increase the hormones that are associated with stress, indirectly raising your blood glucose levels.

Conclusion

It is possible to manage type 2 diabetes with good and healthy lifestyle choices and following a healthy diet plan. However, at the same time, it is also necessary to pay attention to your emotional wellbeing and also keep an eye on the ingredients of your medications. If in spite of following all the precautions recommended by your doctor, you are still getting abnormal A1C test results, then you should consider discussing the same with your doctor so that you can go back to maintaining steady glucose levels in the body.

It is possible to manage type 2 diabetes with good and healthy lifestyle choices and following a healthy diet plan. However, at the same time, it is also necessary to pay attention to your emotional wellbeing and also keep an eye on the ingredients of your medications. If in spite of following all the precautions recommended by your doctor, you are still getting abnormal A1C test results, then you should consider discussing the same with your doctor so that you can go back to maintaining steady glucose levels in the body.

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