What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Normal blood sugar levels vary based on when you last ate. For example, if you just ate a meal, your blood sugar levels will be higher than if you haven’t eaten in a while.
The normal blood glucose range is 70-99 mg/dL before meals, and less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating. If you are fasting , your blood sugar should be below 95 mg/dL.
Don’t Miss: Metformin Side Effects In Males
Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Older Adults
Letâs spend a minute discussing the average levels for older adults, by which we mean over the age of 65. Those who do not have diabetes may be held to the same glucose range as healthy younger adults, keeping glucose between 70-140 mg/dL during the day.
For older adults with diabetes and comorbidities or severe diabetes symptoms like neuropathy, kidney damage, or retinopathy, the recommended glucose threshold, and A1C values may be more lenient. It will all depend on how much damage has been done to the pancreas.
People With Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy. Often, it is a temporary condition, but it can lead to pregnancy complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes aim for blood sugar levels similar to those for people without diabetes, although individual targets may vary.
The ADA offers the following as a guideline:
|Blood sugar level|
- blood vessels
A wide range of complications can also result, such as slow wound healing and frequent infections. Other possible complications include:
Read Also: Hypoglycemia And Prediabetes
How Can Continuous Glucose Monitoring Help You Maintain Optimal Glucose Levels
It is not uncommon for your glucose levels to increase after a meal: you just ate food that may contain glucose, and now your body is working on getting it out of the bloodstream and into the cells. We know that we want to prevent excessive spiking of glucose levels because studies show that high post-meal glucose spikes over 160 mg/dl are associated with higher cancer rates. Spikes are also associated with heart disease. Repeated high glucose spikes after meals contribute to inflammation, blood vessel damage, increased risk of diabetes, and weight gain. Additionally, the data shows that the big spikes and dips in glucose are more damaging to tissues than elevated but stable glucose levels. Therefore, you should strive to keep your glucose levels as steady as possible, at a low and healthy baseline level, with minimal variability after meals.
Keeping your glucose levels constant is more complicated than just following a list of eat this, avoid that foods. Each person has an individual response to food when it comes to their glucose levels studies have shown that two people can have different changes in their glucose levels after eating identical foods. The difference can be quite dramatic. One study found that some people had equal and opposite post-meal glucose spikes in response to the same food.
How Should Blood Sugar Levels Be Before And After Eating
Ideally, before eating , your blood sugars should be between 80-130 mg/dL. One to two hours after eating , your blood sugars should be below 180 mg/dL.
Blood glucose levels can be affected by the type of food consumed, how much, and when but also many other different factors like physical activity, taking other medications, having other medical conditions, stress, age, an illness, and even menstrual periods.
How To Diagnose Blood Sugar Level
Its possible to check your glucose level without a glucose meter by pricking your finger with a clean needle and putting the drop of blood on a strip that has been dipped in a special liquid. The strip will show your blood sugar level in both mg/dL and mmol/L.
A fasting blood glucose level is the amount of glucose in a persons blood after they have not eaten for about 8 hours. The level is usually around 100 milligrams per deciliter . Its possible to measure it using a glucose meter. 80-99 mg/dL is the right amount of sugar to be present in the blood.
How To Measure Blood Sugar Levels
There are two main ways to check your blood sugar levels:
Type 1 diabetics, along with some type 2 diabetics, who require insulin medication, must check their blood sugar at least four times per day, says Mathioudakis. Typically, this should be done before a meal, one to two hours after a meal, and at bedtime.
The timing of these measurements can help determine how much insulin to use. For example, it can be important to use more insulin after a high-sugar meal, or to avoid falling into hypoglycemia while you’re sleeping.
To check your blood sugar at home, you should use blood glucose tests, such as a glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor . Both devices measure blood sugar with the unit mg/dL, which means a milligram of sugar per deciliter of blood.
If you don’t have diabetes, but you may be at risk, your doctor might have you take an A1C test during a yearly check-up. This test reports results as a percentage the higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar has been in the past three months. Those with diabetes should get an A1C test at least twice a year and sometimes every three months.
You May Like: Hypertriglyceridemia Low Carbohydrate Diet
The Power Of Prevention
The high prevalence of adult obesity in America, which is now around 35%, is largely to blame for the prediabetes epidemic, says Dr. Ganda. But if your blood sugar is on the high side, you don’t need to make drastic changes to see improvements. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a landmark study published 15 years ago, showed that cutting out 150 calories per day and walking briskly for 30 minutes, five days a week, cut the risk of developing diabetes by more than half . You should also avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, foods made with white flour, and sugary treats like desserts and sodas. Losing weight is ideal but not absolutely mandatory.
“I tell my patients, don’t be disheartened if you don’t lose weight,” says Dr. Ganda. If you keep exercising regularly, even if your weight doesn’t change, your body composition will change. Losing fat and gaining muscle will improve your response to insulin, as will the exercise itself. “Think of doing exercise as having a little bit of extra insulin on board,” he says.
How To Lower Your Glucose
According to Dr. Gladd, a fasting level between 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates impaired fasting glucose , which increases ones risk of developing type 2 diabetes, whereas a fasting glucose level greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL is considered high , and is typically indicative of type 2 diabetes.
While glucose levels that are too low are also a concern , high glucose can be particularly tricky to lower.
Its tempting to add salt to your food because its in almost everything, but it can also increase blood glucose levels, Dr. Ali adds. Alcohol raises blood glucose levels, so its best to limit your intake. Getting your daily dose of exercise can help to increase insulin production and lower your glucose levels.
Dr. Ali also recommends eating five to six small meals per day rather than three large ones.
This helps to keep your glucose levels from spiking, Dr. Ali explains.
To balance your glucose levels in general, take special note of your diet.
Many foods and beverages can positively or negatively affect glucose levels, Dr. Gladd says. For example, fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables and beans, slow sugar absorption and help keep blood sugar levels more balanced. In contrast, processed flours and sugary foods and beverages lack fiber and can cause rapid spikes and dips in blood sugar which often lead to additional fat storage and elevated blood sugar levels.
Don’t Miss: Eating Too Many Carbs On Metformin
Recommended Blood Glucose Targets For People With Diabetes
|AIC*||Fasting blood glucose/ blood glucose before meals||Blood glucose two hours after start of meal|
|Target for most patients with diabetes||7.0%|
|If A1C targets not being met**||4.0 to 5.5||5.0 to 8.0|
*An A1C is an average of your blood glucose levels over the past three months. Learn more about the A1C here.
**Must be balanced against the risk of hypoglycemia
Other Reasons For High Morning Blood Sugar Levels
If you continuously wake up with high blood sugar levels and haven’t eaten a bedtime snack the night before, your doctor may need to prescribe you more basal insulin , says Dr. Spratt.
However, if you typically eat a snack that contains carbohydrates before going to bed and don’t counteract it with rapid-acting insulin, your blood sugar levels may be higher in the morning as a result. Switch to a snack that won’t raise your blood sugar levels for example, a pairing of ham and cheese or a few bites of non-sweetened peanut butter, she says.
Lastly, if your blood sugar levels dip too low in the middle of the night, your body may release hormones that “rescue” you from dangerously low levels, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The result is that your liver releases stored glucose, causing your blood sugar levels to be higher than usual in the morning. This is called the Somogyi effect.
If you’re experiencing low blood sugar in the four to six hours after a meal, that’s a sign that your basal insulin dose is too high, says Dr. Spratt.
“A lot of people have lows of which they are not aware of,” she says. “They wake up and their blood sugar is high and assume they must need more insulin at night.” But, she explains, it’s important to check your blood sugar at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. to make sure you aren’t experiencing a drop in glucose levels.
Recommended Reading: Insulin Effect On Calcium Levels
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.
What Number Should My Blood Glucose Be
Blood glucose is measured in mg/dl. The normal range for blood glucose for people without diabetes is 70 to 120 mg/dl.
The Diabetes Center has guidelines for blood glucose readings. This is called a target range. There may be times when your healthcare provider gives you a different target range, like for bedtime, with exercise, or after eating.
Nationwide Childrens Hospital Diabetes Center Target Blood Glucose Ranges
The goal is to keep the blood glucose within the target range most of the time.
Don’t Miss: How Does Diet Soda Affect Blood Sugar
Take Advantage Of A Singlecare Savings Card
With a free coupon from SingleCare, a 30-day supply of metformin can cost as little as $4. All thats required is to select a coupon based on price or local pharmacy on SingleCares metformin discount coupon page. The savings card can be printed, emailed, or sent to a smartphone and used right away to enjoy prescription discounts.
Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat
Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.
Its especially important to keep this mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.
- Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- The common cold and other illnesses: usually raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- An injury which raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar
While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.
For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.
Low Blood Sugar Chart And Action Plan
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia. The numbers below represent values in the hypoglycemic range and require action to bring blood sugar levels up into a normal range.
|Alert Level and Treatment Plan|
|50 mg/dL or under||Red Flag: Blood sugar is critically low and requires immediate treatment.
If a person is unable to speak and/or is not alert, treat with glucagon via injection or nasal spray. Call emergency medical response if necessary. Do not place food or drink into the mouth.
If a person is alert and able to speak clearly, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate such as glucose gel, 4 oz regular soda, or fruit juice. Re-test blood sugar in 15 minutes and repeat as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|51-70 mg/dL||Red Flag: Blood sugar is below normal levels and requires immediate treatment.
Treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes. Repeat treatment as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|71-90 mg/dL||Yellow Flag: Blood sugar levels should be watched and treated as needed.
If youre having symptoms of low blood sugar, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes.
Repeat treatment or follow with a meal. If it is meal time, move forward with eating the meal. People often fall into this range when they are late for a meal or have been especially active.
Diabetes Tracking And Treatment
- Follow your diabetes treatment plan: Understand the treatment plan before leaving the healthcare providers office and discuss barriers that could prevent you from following the program. Attend all follow-up visits.
- Consistently take prescribed medications: If a healthcare provider has prescribed medications to reduce blood sugar levels, take them regularly. Some people only take medication when they arent feeling well, but these medications dont work unless taken consistently.
- Monitor and track blood sugar: Regular blood sugar monitoring is the most important step in diabetes management, according to the CDC. Healthcare providers can inform patients of different types of meters and help patients find the best one for them. Providers can also tell patients how often to check their blood sugar and what their target blood sugar range is.Keep a log of your blood sugar levels to look for patterns and triggers for blood sugar spikes and lows. If you wear a continuous glucose monitor, you can use the data. Learning what causes blood sugar to rise or decrease can help you create a plan to keep it consistent.
Don’t Miss: Is Bread Ok For Diabetics