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Ask the Expert: How diabetics break down average blood sugar levels

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- A local woman has a great question about how diabetics can  bring down their  average blood sugar levels.
For more than two decades, Cindy Kabalan has managed blood sugar levels in a number of ways.

Cindy Kabalan said, "I am always working on that because its easy to let them go."
Cindy has the kind of diabetes that requires the hormone insulin and multiple blood sugar checks daily.  She says she checks it about 8 to ten times a day.

Doctor Mike Heile says those daily checks are critical to know how what you are eating is balanced with medication.  But you also need to know a number called your hemoglobin ALC.

Dr. Mike Heile of a TriHealth family practice said, "It tell us what their average blood sugar is for the last two to three months."

The test is most accurate when taken as part of a blood draw and Doctor Heile says normal levels are critical to immediate good health for most people.

"Usually under 5.7 or so, but you'll see a lot of normal people in the 4's," Heile told Local 12 News.

What's important to note is the hemoglobin  ALC is not just about immediate results by getting blood sugar to normal levels, it can alter things such as energy levels or vision.  But more importantly, it's the long term results that we now know that when you keep this in normal levels it can make the biggest difference overall.  Kidney failure, limb loss and many other long term diabetes complications can all be reduced by keeping  ALC's at normal levels.

Dr. Heile said, "Even longevity of life, you can probably make a correlation between well controlled diabetics and how long they are going to live so it's a really important blood test that gives us all kinds of information."

Medication and insulin can bring ALC's down as well as regular exercise and what you eat.  But even more so than just the food, what Cindy Kabalan found out is also critical...

"The timing of when you take medicine and when you eat," she said.

Doctor Heile says don't underestimate that sometimes even small changes can lead to big drops in your hemoglobin ALC, "Sometimes even lifestyle changes, if they don't eat well to begin with or they are not at proper weight, we can see improvement like crazy with just those conservative type things."

Don't forget, Local 12 News welcomes your questions for providers at TriHealth.  CLICK HERE to submit your question. 

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