When a person is first diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first questions they have is what their blood sugar level should be; what is normal, too high, or too low? Because everyone’s personal health history and body function is as unique as a fingerprint, it may influence how the body responds to food, medication, and other factors that influence blood sugar levels.
Guidelines for normal glucose levels in people without diabetes are provided by health organisations, and they differ slightly from the normal or target levels recommended for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider will work with you to tailor your target blood sugar levels to your specific health requirements.
This article intended to help you get started understanding the fundamentals of blood sugar levels, such as
- What exactly is blood sugar?
- How that creates normal blood sugar levels?
- Blood sugar levels to aim for in diabetics (& chart)
- Factors that can have an impact on blood sugar levels
- Perils of hyperglycaemia
- What to look out for if you have low blood sugar
What exactly is blood sugar?
When you eat, the carbohydrates in your food broken down into a form of energy known as glucose. Glucose, also known as sugar, enters the bloodstream and helped into our cells by a hormone called insulin.
The amount of glucose in the bloodstream reduced as a result of this process. When this process is working properly, your muscles and organs get the fuel they require without any problems. There is an excess of glucose in the blood.
What makes up normal blood sugar levels?
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and indeed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following blood sugar levels for people who do not have diabetes.
This blood sugar level is measured while you fasting at least 8 hours after your last meal, such as first thing in the morning.
The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping fasting plasma glucose levels below 100 mg/dL.
Serum glucose levels 2 hours after a meal
This blood sugar level measured two hours after the start of a meal or two hours after consuming a sugary liquid during an oral glucose tolerance test.
The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping blood glucose levels below 140 mg/dL.
This A blood procedure done regardless of that when you eat. It measures the amount of glucose stuck to haemoglobin (a component of red blood cells), which accumulates over a three-month period.
- Less than 5.7 percent, according to the CDC.
- Chart of ordinary blood sugar levels
- 2 hours after a meal, fasting plasma glucose A1C
- Below 100 mg/dL and less than 140 mg/dL 5.7 percent or less
Blood sugar levels to aim for in diabetics
Diabetes patients have difficulty producing or using enough insulin, the hormone that aids in the conversion of glucose into energy. Although there is no universal blood sugar chart for all diabetics, clinical organisations such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) provide guidelines on target blood sugar levels as a starting point.
Normal blood sugar target ranges typically tailored to an individual’s diabetes care plan by healthcare providers.
This does include thinking about your
- Age and Lifestyle
- Years since diabetes was diagnosed
- Other medical conditions
- Severe hypoglycemia is a risk.
- Condition of mind
Economic resources are available to achieve blood sugar targets
If your healthcare provider has not yet provided you with target guidelines, you can use the blood sugar level charts below. This assist you in getting started with home testing with a blood glucose metre and make understanding target A1C levels easier.
- ADA target blood sugar ranges for non-pregnant diabetics
- AACE Prior to Meals
- Less than 110 mg/dL 70-130mg/dL
- A1C less than 180 mg/dL less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal (HbA1c) fewer than 7.0 percentage 6.5 percent or less
Diabetes pregnant women’s blood sugar target ranges
Because of hormonal influences, blood sugar targets are lower during pregnancy. The American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
And the Joslin Diabetes Center all have slightly different recommendations for target blood sugar levels during pregnancy. In general, diabetic pregnant women should adhere to the individual guidelines provided by their endocrinologist.
Pregnant women should keep their blood sugar levels between 95 and 140 mg/dL, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, some healthcare providers advocate for a more stringent target of blood glucose levels of less than 89 mg/dL before meals and less than 120 mg/dL after meals.
Most diabetes specialists recommend that women with diabetes during pregnancy check their blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
- Before all meals, fast first thing in the morning.
- 1 hour following all meals
- Before going to bed
- Occasionally, around 3 a.m.
- Use our free weekly and monthly blood sugar charts to keep track of your own personal ranges
Factors that can have an impact on blood sugar levels
You may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin if you have prediabetes or diabetes. This means that your body is having trouble regulating blood sugar levels on its own.
It’s a delicate balance to strike, so the following list can help you become acquainted with the factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to rise or fall.
Why is your blood sugar level likely to be high?
According to the ADA guidelines, if your blood sugar higher than 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal, it is considered to above the normal range.
What could be causing your glucose or blood sugar levels to rise?
Take into account the following factors
- Taking in more carbohydrates or eating a larger meal than usual
- Inadequate insulin or oral diabetes medication intake based on carbohydrate or activity levels
- Aerobic exercise has been reduced
- Illness, anxiety, and pain (both short-term and long-term)
- Menstrual cycles
- Medication side effects, such as steroids or antipsychotics
Why is your blood sugar level low?
- Blood sugar levels considered abnormal if they fall below 70 mg/dL. This can all caused by a number of aspects, including.
- Eating insufficiently or skipping a meal or snack
- Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you consume on a regular basis
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages, particularly on an empty stomach
- Taking an excessive amount of insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrate consumption or activity levels
- External trade has increased.
- Medication-related side effects (other than steroids or antipsychotics)
If you have diabetes, keep a blood glucose metre and a source of fast-acting glucose (such as glucose tabs or fruit juice) on hand in case your blood sugar falls. This is especially important for people suffering from hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which symptoms of low blood sugar go unnoticed.
Eating balanced meals and snacks at regular intervals throughout the day is crucial to maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Check out our article on diabetes meal planning to learn more about the three macronutrients that provide calories and have the greatest impact on blood sugar levels.
How to Optimize Diabetes Meal Planning Your Diet (Free Meal Planning Chart)
Everyone reacts differently to different factors, which is why it’s critical to have individualised target glucose levels. Working with your healthcare provider to discuss changes to your diet, physical activity, or medications, as well as alerting them to other factors such as a recent illness or stressful event, will help you reach your target blood glucose goals.
Inherent dangers of uncontrolled diabetes
High blood sugar levels can deplete your energy, cause excessive thirst and urination, and blur your vision in the short term. Dehydration, dry and itchy skin, and infections can all caused by high blood sugar levels. Limiting the amount of time you spend above your target blood sugar range can help you feel better and prevent complications and injury. High blood sugar affects many parts of the body over time.
Chronic high blood sugar levels can begin to cause noticeable changes, such as
- Memory issues
- Blurriness, diabetic retinopathy, and blindness are all examples of vision problems
- Gum disease causes tooth loss, which can make eating healthy foods difficult due to chewing issues
- Heart attacks and strokes caused by increased plaque buildup in the vessels, as well as other vascular issues
- Kidney disease, which may necessitate dialysis or a kidney transplant
- Nerve damage can result in decreased sensation in the feet and legs, increasing the risk of wounds developing into serious infections and even amputation
- High blood sugar can also cause nerve damage, which can result in a variety of symptoms, including tingling and pain in the fingers and toes
Having difficulty emptying your bladder?
After-meal digestion issues that can cause food to sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and erratic blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is often taboo to bring up, but nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels can affect both men’s and women’s sexual response and function. Don’t be afraid to seek help from your doctor in any of these areas.
Checking your blood sugar on a regular basis and acting quickly if it rises above the normal range can help reduce your risk of complications.
A graph depicting high blood sugar levels and a plan of action
High blood sugar is also known as hyperglycemia. This happens when the body fails to produce enough insulin.
greater than 250 mg/dL Blood sugar levels are extremely high, necessitating immediate treatment.
More than two unexpected blood sugar readings of 250 mg/dL or higher necessitate medical attention. Testing for ketones is recommended for people with Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes who are on insulin therapy and are experiencing vomiting and other symptoms of severe illness.
When blood sugar levels are this high, it may indicate ineffective glucose management, a problem with your insulin or insulin pump infusion set, illness, or another issue. In order to receive further treatment instructions, contact your healthcare provider. If your blood sugar is higher than 250 mg/dL, avoid exercise and drink plenty of water.
What to look out for if you have low blood sugar Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)It is possible for diabetics to
- Take an excessive amount of medication or insulin
- Are you eating a meal or a snack late?
- Have elevated your physical activity level
- Excessive drug consumption
Feeling weak, sweaty or clammy, confused, hungry, and/or irritable are all symptoms of low blood sugar. A fast heartbeat is common in some people, and some symptoms may make a person appear drunk. A dangerously low blood sugar level can cause unconsciousness, seizures, coma, or death, especially if it occurs during the night.
Low blood sugar affects many parts of the body, but the most frustrating aspect is that hypoglycemia can occur at any time and in any place even when you believe you are strictly adhering to your diabetes treatment plan. People may suffer from severe hypoglycemia.
They may need to go to the hospital to help raise their glucose level, or they may be unable to work due to the side effects.
It can happen on a date, at work, or even while driving, which is the most dangerous scenario if there is confusion or loss of consciousness behind the wheel. Use your blood glucose metre to check your blood sugar before driving to keep yourself and others safe. Recurring blood sugar testing with a glycaemic metre, as well as acting when your blood sugar is surging low, can help you avoid an extreme low and keep your life on track.
A chart of low blood sugar levels and a plan of action
Low insulin levels is also known as insulin resistance. The hypoglycemic levels are represented by the numbers below and necessarily involve action to return sugar levels to normal.
Alert Level for Blood Sugar Readings and Treatment Plan
50 mg/dL or less Blood sugar is critically low and must be treated right away.
If a person is unable to speak and/or is not alert, glucagon injection or nasal spray should be used. If an emergency medical response is required, dial 911. Do not put anything into your mouth.
If a person is awake and able to speak clearly, give them 15 grammes of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as glucose gel, 4 oz regular soda, or fruit juice. Retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes and repeat as needed to bring it back into range.
51-70 mmol/L Blood sugars are below normal, which really is a red flag requires immediate care.
Retest in 15 minutes after administering 15 grammes of rapid-acting carbohydrate. Treatment should be repeated as needed to bring blood sugar levels back into range.
71-90 mmol/L Blood sugar levels should be monitored and treated as needed.
If you have low blood sugar symptoms, take 15 grammes of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes.
Repeat the treatment if necessary, or follow with a meal. If it is mealtime, proceed with the meal. When people are late for a meal or have been particularly active, they frequently fall into this range.
Perform the steps if your illnesses do not match the text on your glycaemic metre. Don’t rely on your body to tell you if your blood sugar is too high or too low.
Low many of the symptoms of highs and lows are interchangeable
Discussing your specific health goals and challenges with your healthcare provider can result in customised target ranges for normal blood sugar levels and action plans tailored to your specific needs. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is critical to your overall health, so check your blood sugar levels on a regular basis. Taking immediate action when your blood sugar is above the normal range can help reduce your risk of health complications, and if your blood sugar is low, it can keep you safe.