Normal Blood Glucose Levels In Healthy Individuals
Blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar levels, can be normal, high, or low. The blood sugar levels are generally measured after 8 hours of eating.
A normal blood sugar range for a healthy adult after 8 hours of fasting is > 70 mg/dL. and < 100 mg/dL.
While a normal blood sugar level in a healthy person after 2 hours of eating is between 90 to 100 mg/dL.
Blood glucose levels change throughout the day. The major factors for such change in the blood glucose levels are as follows:
90 to 150 mg/dL
Lets Crunch Some Numbers
Ill give these numbers to you in a written, chart, and visual format because it will make sense to you depending how you read it.
Depending where you live in the world, numbers can vary slightly. And your numbers will either be mg/dl or mmol/l. Youll find the numbers for both of these readings below.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Fasting glucose 70-99 mg/dl or 4-6 mmol/l
2 hours post meal glucose Less than 140 mg/dl or less than 7.8 mmol/l
Pre-diabetes diagnostic ranges also called impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance
Fasting glucose 100-125 mg/dl or 6.1-6.9 mmol/l
2 hours post meal glucose level 140-199 mg/ dl or 7.8-11 mmol/l
Type 2 Diabetes diagnostic ranges
Fasting glucose More than 126 mg/dl or more than 7.0 mmol/l
2 hours glucose level More than 200 mg/dl or more than 11.1 mmol/l
Take Things One Day At A Time
While you can understand how diabetes works on an intellectual level, the reality is that things can sometimes happen that feel out of your control. This can be a very stressful and scary time for the child but also for the parent, McCrudden says. The needles can be painful or anxiety-inducing at first. Or, maybe your child is embarrassed about dealing with the condition in front of other kids or feels like a burden.
Diabetes management is a balancing act, says Lisa Goldsmith, of Natick, Massachusetts, whose daughter was diagnosed at 7. You can do everything right and still get high or low blood sugars. It is not an exact science and you will not ever have perfection. But you will figure out a routine and develop a new normal. The more you all adjust to the condition, the more good days you will have.
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How Do I Measure Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes — your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.
Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes — constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, it’s good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.
Check out these blood sugar monitors if you’re looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.
Know Your Body Mass Index
Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. BMI is an easy way to estimate excess fat. Even a small change in body weight can reduce your risk of diabetes.
If your score is:
25.029.9 = Overweight/Pre-obese 30.0 and over = Obese
To calculate your BMI, you can use the BMI chart or the formulas at the bottom of this page or complete the Canadian diabetes risk questionnaire.
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Does Gestational Diabetes Go Away After Pregnancy
Yes, gestational diabetes should go away after you deliver your baby. Yet, follow-up is critical. Your healthcare provider should test your blood glucose levels between four and 12 weeks postpartum to make sure theyve returned to normal, as ACOG recommends.
If you have gestational diabetes during a pregnancy, you are more likely to develop gestational diabetes again during a future pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, the ADA says your chances are two in three. If youve had it before, youre at higher risk, Dr. Deering says.
You are also more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Thats why ACOG also recommends that you be tested for diabetes every one to three years after giving birth. In the meantime, eating a healthy diet and breastfeeding your baby can also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
What Are Normal Blood Glucose Levels In Healthy Individuals
Blood sugar levels can either be normal, high, or low, depending on how much glucose someone has in their bloodstream. Glucose is a simple sugar thats present in the bloodstream at all times. Normal blood glucose levels can be measured when someone fasts, eats, or after theyve eaten. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, who havent eaten for at least eight hours is less than 100 mg/dL. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, two hours after eating is 90 to 110 mg/dL.
Many factors affect blood sugar levels throughout the day:
- Type of food consumed, how much, and when
- Physical activity
- Menstrual periods
An ideal blood sugar level for anyone without diabetes or prediabetes, regardless of age, in the morning should be less than 100 mg/dL. Remember, blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day as a result of the factors previously mentioned.
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Whats Part Of A Gestational Diabetes Diet
One of the most important lifestyle changes you can make is altering your diet to incorporate low glycemic index foods that dont send blood sugar levels soaring. Youll want to consider both what youre eating and how much youre eating, says Dr. Deering. Portion size is an important factor in balancing your diet.
Greek Yoghurt And Cottage Cheese
Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese make good breakfast choices.
Quick to put together and easy to tailor to your own desires by adding any of the following:
- Nuts always a good source of energy and a low carb favourite
- Oatmeal or wheat bran for fibre
- Berries are a popular choice
- Fruit cantaloupe is listed as a good accompaniment
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What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too Low
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia . It means your blood sugar level drops below 70. Having low blood sugar is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. Anyone with diabetes can have low blood sugar. You have a greater chance of having low blood sugar if you take insulin or certain pills for diabetes.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry, check your blood sugar. Even if you feel none of these things, but think you may have low blood sugar, check it.
If your meter shows that your blood sugar is lower than 70, do one of the following things right away:
- chew 4 glucose tablets
- drink 4 ounces of fruit juice
- drink 4 ounces of regular soda, not diet soda or
- chew 4 pieces of hard candy
After taking one of these treatments, wait for 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar again. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is 70 or above. After your blood sugar gets back up to 70 or more, eat a snack if your next meal is 1 hour or more away.
If you often have low blood sugar, check your blood sugar before driving and treat it if it is low.
What Are Blood Sugar Levels
Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Glucose is a sugar that you get from food and drink. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who don’t have diabetes.
You can check your sugar levels yourself by doing a finger-prick test, by using a flash glucose monitor or with a continuous glucose monitor . You can do this a number of times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.
But not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.
And theres also something called an HbA1c, which measures your average blood sugar level from the previous few months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.
High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels.
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Commonly Asked Questions About Blood Sugar Levels
What is the difference between blood sugar and A1c?
Blood sugar is a daily reading while A1c is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar from the previous 3 month period.
You can read more about the difference between the two over here.
Will weight loss help with my diabetes management?
Yes, by default weight loss helps because it reduces inflammation in your body and improves overall metabolic function. However, weight loss alone wont lower blood sugar levels. You often have to make several diet and lifestyle changes to bring your levels within normal range.
Ive been prescribed Metformin, will that help with my blood glucose levels?
Yes, Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed diabetes medications worldwide. It belongs to a class of medications known as Biguanides, which lower blood glucose by decreasing the amount of sugar put out by the liver. And it is one of the medications that does not increase weight gain.
We have detailed information about Metformin here.
Why does high blood sugar cause complications like neuropathy?
The body is designed to have a blood sugar level within a certain range, with a maximum of 140 after meals. Levels above normal for extended periods promote inflammation in the blood vessels throughout the body, along with damage to cells simply because the body isnt designed to operate with levels above normal.
What type of diet helps to lower blood sugar levels?
Is there a different blood sugar levels chart by age?
Avoid Alcohol Before Nighttime
Another good habit is to avoid alcohol before going to bed. This can cause your blood sugar to increase quickly but leave you with low levels overnight. Avoiding alcohol for a few hours before bedtime will help keep the glucose in balance and prevent fluctuations.
If you do drink alcoholic beverages before going to bed try to eat a healthy snack with some carbohydrates to catch that low blood sugar after drinking alcohol.
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Do Your Blood Sugar Levels Drop When You Sleep
Yes, people with diabetes may experience a blood sugar level that drops when they sleep. This is largely due to a phenomenon called the dawn effect.
This doesn’t always happen and it’s not something that everyone experiences but as time goes on, our bodies will tell us which pattern is best for it: whether we should eat before bed or not. It’s important to experiment with what works best for our individual needs – if eating before bed causes our blood sugar to drop too low, then we’ll know that it’s best to avoid eating for the hours leading up to bed to keep your blood sugar under control.
If we do experience a drop in blood sugar levels, there are some strategies that may help us either prevent or treat it. Some people will take insulin before going to bed if they know their blood sugar is too high others might drink juice or eat cereal with milk before bedtime when they know they have low blood sugar during the night.
Exercise For Gestational Diabetes
Regular physical activity is a key component of a healthy lifestyle for anyone, but its especially important for diabetes management. It can help keep your weight in check, which can help keep blood sugar levels under control. Exercise helps your body use up extra glucose without requiring additional insulin and can combat insulin resistance, according to the American Diabetes Association .
The CDC recommends aiming for 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week, but you can break it up into chunks as you see fit. It doesnt have to be too complicated. Walking is great exercise, if you dont love going to the gym or anything else, Dr. Shastri says. If you prefer biking, or swimming, or dancing, its fine to go with that. Just make sure to communicate with your healthcare team, since exercise can affect your blood sugar levels.
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What Factors Affect Blood Sugar
You can guess that carbohydrate intake and insulin production are at least partly responsible for your blood sugar levels. But the list is much longer — almost every lifestyle choice you make can affect your blood sugar. Here’s just a partial list.
- Exercise can affect insulin sensitivity, leading to lower blood sugar for up to 48 hours.
- Alcohol intake increases insulin production, causing low blood sugar.
- Stress hormones like cortisol can raise blood sugar, because your body wants access to energy in order to escape what it perceives as a dangerous situation.
- Medications, especially statins and diuretics, can raise blood sugar. Statins are used to treat cholesterol, and diuretics for high blood pressure.
- Diet is a major player in blood sugar. Eating too many simple carbs at once can cause levels to skyrocket, while protein intake leads to a slower increase in blood sugar.
- Dehydration raises blood sugar, because with less water in your body the glucose concentration will be higher.
Other surprising factors can affect your blood sugar, like a sunburn or gum disease, so if you’re dealing with a blood sugar issue and can’t figure out what’s causing your spikes and dips, talk to a health care professional.
Easy Before Bed Routines For People With Diabetes
You might be surprised to learn what your blood sugar should be at bedtime. The range is usually 5.0-8.3 mmol/L , and its important to check what yours is before going to bed. Checking your blood sugar before you go to sleep will give you information about what caused any spikes or dips in the day that you might not have noticed. For instance, if your nighttime reading were high, this would tell us that something may have happened during the day that could affect your diabetes management plan.
Creating a bed routine can also be helpful if your blood sugar at bedtime is higher than what youd like it to be. For instance, rather than eating or drinking anything sweet before bedtime and then checking how what should happen next for diabetes management will depend on what the readings are in the morning, try adding this into a routine:
- Eat dinner earlier in the evening
- Don’t drink sugar-sweetened beverages before bedtime
- Eating a nitrile snack before bed helps maintain your blood sugar normal and prevents your liver from releasing excess glucose
- Limit alcoholic beverages to the extent they disturb sleep
- Too close to bed exercises often can cause poor sleeping habits
- Avoid eating caffeine within several hours of going to bed
- Take medicine if needed to lower your blood sugar levels, but dont take too much insulin so you wont have a low reading in the morning.
Always consult with your doctor before changing anything to your diet, insulin plan, or diabetes management.
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What Blood Sugar Levels Are Healthy
Weve established what normal blood sugar looks like, more or less. But normal levels can be challenging for people with diabetes to achieve. At what point does high blood sugar get dangerous?
This is an area of some debate. The long-term studies show that the risk of complications drop off dramatically when an HbA1c is lower than 7%, which is an estimated average blood glucose of 154 mg/dL or 8.6 mmol/L. The risks continue to drop until its below 6%, an average blood sugar of 126 mg/dL or 7 mmol/L. There are many people with diabetes who strive for even lower targets, but there is not much research outlining the benefits of that approach yet.
Its important to note that studies of A1c and the rate of complications are only looking at averages. In reality, there seems to be a huge difference in the risk of complications based on genetics and perhaps other unknown factors. There are many people who have lived for many decades with type 1 diabetes, running high blood sugars almost continuously, and have no complications. There are others who have had well-controlled blood sugars that still get complications.
For most people, its safe to say that striving for an HbA1c of below 7% and probably below 6.5% is a realistic goal for staying healthy.
This chart from the American Diabetes Association lists some of the other factors that may indicate when a patient should target a lower or higher blood sugar level: