What Is Well-Controlled Diabetes and How Is it Achieved?

ways to change A1CThis is a question that is frequently asked and rarely understood; even by those who have had diabetes for a long time. Some believe that having well-controlled diabetes means you don’t feel sick or have symptoms; others feel you are controlled if you take your medications; and a vast majority of people just have no idea what any of it means. Do you?

As a person with diabetes, you’re considered well-controlled if your A1C (used to monitor how well your diabetes treatment is working over time) value is between 6.5 to 7% or lower. This also means that your average blood sugars are between 140 to 154 mg/dL. Targets are typically geared toward fasting blood sugars less than 130 mg/dL and two-hours after meals less than 180 mg/dL. Any person who achieves the correct A1C but has values of blood sugars consistently less than 70 mg/dL or greater than 200 mg/dL are not considered well-controlled, due to the variability of their numbers.

Achieving diabetes control comes in the form of behavior maintenance. This is dependent on proper education and incorporating that information into your life. Good sources include registered dietitians and certified diabetes educators. Let’s review some of the specifics of what this means.

Four Areas That Help Control Diabetes

Diet: This isn’t really a new concept for blood glucose control but not well understood either. It’s important to get the proper information from reliable resources before applying changes to your diet.

Activity: Many don’t consider the profound effect exercise and activity have on helping bring blood sugars under control. Be sure to be under advisement of a clinician for details related to risks for hypoglycemia.

Medication: Understanding and administering diabetes medications correctly, consistently, and safely is an effective way to gain good control over your diabetes.

Stress management (both emotional and physical): It’s important to have healthy coping skills, outlets, and support systems to help navigate the ups and downs of diabetes management and physical stressors (e.g., illness or accident).

So, how do you know if you’re managing any one or all these behaviors well enough to help keep your diabetes well controlled? Use a blood glucose meter, and try to establish cause and effect. Try to identify trends and/or patterns that are influenced by the change in the behavior you’re working on or evidence that is produced from lack of change.

Diabetes CAN be managed. Each person CAN have an influence on their management. If you have questions about your current diet or lifestyle, meeting with a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, or nurse for personalized suggestions on improving your nutrition or diabetes is recommended. Ask your physician for a referral.

Guest Blogger: Nicole Parent RN, CDE, Diabetes and Nutrition Center, UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital

  11 comments for “What Is Well-Controlled Diabetes and How Is it Achieved?

  1. October 22, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    My wife diabetes symptom was diabetic neuropathy. We didn’t know she was diabetic until we went to my doctor complaining about constant foot pain. After a multitude of tests for everything from rheumatoid arthritis to muscular dystrophy, an emergency room physician checked her blood sugar.After reviewing a letter written by my doctor, where I read he had prescribed Celebrex for her due to pain of Arthritis which had really messed her neck, back and knees, I found that one of the side effects of Celebrex is Diabetes, my wife was able to effectively cure herbal condition multivitamincare org  It is too much for a patient to endure such as they slowly begin to pass away if the right medication is not taken organic herbal treatment.Having a positive mind is a powerful tool .My prayers goes out to diabetes patients and their care givers.

  2. Deryck Stevenso.
    October 3, 2020 at 7:45 am

    very helpful

  3. Anonymous
    September 21, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Im type 2 and i was 7.4 a1c when i found out. Im now a 5.6 a1c. So my question is as pong as i have it well controlled like this i wont have any complications right?

    • UMass Memorial
      September 22, 2020 at 11:34 am

      Please check with your physician about your question. Thanks.

  4. August 14, 2020 at 12:35 am

    This article is very useful. Thanks. We have published the blog to raise awareness, very useful for diabetics. Through it you will be able to get an idea about everything. 
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  5. Jennifer
    June 11, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    I don’t understand I had blood work done and the nursed and said “you have well controlled diabetes your A1 is 6.1”. No the doctor wants to see, no you need medication just OK bye. What am I suppose to do, nothing?

    • UMass Memorial
      June 12, 2020 at 10:50 am

      Please follow up with your primary care doctor or your diabetes specialist.

    • Ruthie
      January 18, 2021 at 4:09 pm

      I am in the same position. I have had an A1c of 6.1 for sometime with no med. My last blood draw showed my A1c to be 7.1. I was told two different things….I was diabetic needing medication……and “you have CONTROLLED diabetes. Watch your diet and exercise”. I din” know what to do.

      • UMass Memorial
        January 19, 2021 at 4:02 pm

        It would be best to follow up with your diabetes specialist or your primary care doctor. They can better help you understand the next steps.

  6. Chris
    May 9, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    My doctor has never told me to check my blood sugar. Should I be testing? I’ve been taking Rx for about 2 years and my A1C is around 6.7.

    • UMass Memorial
      May 11, 2020 at 9:52 am

      While we can’t offer medical advice, I would suggest asking your doctor about checking your A1C. A conversation would be a great place to start.

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