What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels And What Blood Sugar Level Constitutes A True Emergency
Dr. Horton answers the question: ‘Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels?’
— Question:What is the normal range for blood sugar levels, and what blood sugar level constitutes a true emergency?
Answer:Now, in a normal individual we measure blood sugar under different circumstances. What we call fasting blood sugar or blood glucose levels is usually done six to eight hours after the last meal. So it’s most commonly done before breakfast in the morning and the normal range there is 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter.
Now when you eat a meal, blood sugar generally rises and in a normal individual it usually does not get above a 135 to 140 milligrams per deciliter. So there is a fairly narrow range of blood sugar throughout the entire day.
Now in our diabetic patients we see both low blood sugar levels that we call hypoglycemia, or elevated blood sugars, hyperglycemia. Now, if the blood sugar drops below about 60 or 65 milligrams per deciliter, people will generally get symptoms, which are some shakiness, feeling of hunger, maybe a little racing of the heart and they will usually be trenchant or if they eat something, it goes away right away. But if blood sugar drops below 50 and can get down as low as 40 or 30 or even 20, then there is a progressive loss of mental function and eventually unconsciousness and seizures. And of course that is very dangerous and a medical emergency.
What Is Normal Blood Sugar
Normal blood sugar or blood glucose levels are between 80 and 130 mg/dL. That number is an average of what is normal for individuals with diabetes. When blood sugar levels are too high, the person may experience hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can be characterized by extreme thirst and urination, blurred vision, or shakiness, sweating, dizziness, or confusion. When the person has low blood glucose, they may experience hypoglycemia which can be characterized by sweating, dizziness, or confusion.
The range of normal blood glucose levels for people with diabetes is between 80-130 milligrams per deciliter . A persons individual level will depend on many factors including how old they are, their ethnicity, their weight and height, and the activity theyve performed recently.
Levels In The Morning
The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.
These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:
- Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.
Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:
- Eating dinner earlier
- Checking your medications making sure you are taking them properly and asking your doctor if they are correct
- Going for a walk after dinner
- Including protein with your dinner
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels Chart For Diabetic Adults Age Wise
|Chart of Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetic Adults|
|100 to 140 mg/dL|
Healthy blood sugar levels in diabetic adults age wise:
Healthy diabetic adults should maintain a blood sugar level of 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL after 2 hours of meals. Pregnant women should maintain a blood sugar level of 95-140 mg/dL to avoid complications. This can be done with the right habits in place that help you maintain your sugar level without getting stressed about it.
Summary Of Normal Glucose Ranges
In summary, based on ADA criteria, the IDF guidelines, a persons glucose values are normal if they have fasting glucose < 100 mg/dl and a post-meal glucose level < 140 mg/dl. Taking into account additional research performed specifically using continuous glucose monitors, we can gain some more clarity on normal trends and can suggest that a nondiabetic, healthy individual can expect:
- Fasting glucose levels between 80-86 mg/dl
- Glucose levels between 70-120 mg/dl for approximately 90% of the day
- 24-hour mean glucose levels of around 89-104 mg/dl
- Mean daytime glucose of 83-106 mg/dl
- Mean nighttime glucose of 81-102 mg/dl
- Mean post-meal glucose peaks ranging from 99.2 ± 10.5 to 137.2 ± 21.1 mg/dl
- Time to post-meal glucose peak is around 46 minutes 1 hour
These are not standardized criteria or ranges but can serve as a simple guide for what has been observed as normal in nondiabetic individuals.
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How Do I Check My Blood Glucose
Picture 1: Poke the side of the finger with the lancet
What Changes Blood Sugar Levels
Several factors are responsible for changing the level of glucose in our blood. Most of them are a part of an unhealthy lifestyle. Switching to healthy habits can reduce the risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels in our bodies.
Eating fast food regularly, consuming high-calorie foods, or not regulating alcohol consumption can lead to a high amount of sugar content in your body. Not getting enough sleep, water, or exercise may also affect your glucose levels. Given below are some reasons for changing rates of blood sugar.
- Eating foods with a high quantity of carbohydrates or calories.
- No physical activities like exercise or yoga
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Type 2 Diabetes: Measuring Sugar Levels In Blood And Urine Yourself
Many people with diabetes measure their blood sugar levels themselves. For those who inject insulin several times a day, checking their sugar levels with a blood glucose meter is an important part of their daily treatment.
If someone has diabetes, their blood sugar levels are checked regularly. In type 2 diabetes, once every few months is sometimes enough. But not if insulin injections are part of their treatment.This is because the amount of insulin that is injected at mealtimes depends on the measured blood sugar level, among other things. Sugar levels in blood or urine can be measured in various ways. It’s also possible to measure the level of sugar in tissues of the body.
You can learn how to measure your blood sugar yourself in special patient education classes. These are a part of diabetes disease management programs too.
Different Levels And What They Mean
The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.
The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.
If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.
That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.
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Factors That Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. This means your body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels on its own.
Its a delicate balance to maintain, so the following list can help you familiarize yourself with factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to go up or down.
Are There Different Recommendations For Blood Sugar Levels In Other Countries
The recommended blood sugar level ranges in countries around the world are very similar. However, there are two different units of measurement that are used when referring to blood sugars, depending on where you live: millimoles per litre and milligrams per decilitre .
The mmol/L measurement is used here in Canada, as well as England, Australia and China, while mg/dL is used in such countries as the United States, France, Japan, Israel and India.
To convert mmol/L to mg/dl, simply multiply by 18. For example, a blood sugar level of 5.0 mmol/L would mean a level of 90 mg/dL .
Here are blood sugar recommendations from some countries other than Canada:
|80 to 130 mg/dL||Less than 180 mg/dL|
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What Is High Blood Sugar
If your blood sugar levels are chronically higher than normal, then this is referred to as hyperglycaemia. This is a common issue for those suffering from diabetes. The condition can also affect pregnant women who have gestational diabetes and occasionally those who are severely ill .
Some of the symptoms of hyperglycaemia include:
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
- Issues with concentration and/or thinking
If severe hyperglycaemia is left untreated the condition can lead to organ and tissue damage as the excess glucose present in the body can make it difficult for the organs and cells to function correctly. The disorder can also impair the immune system response in the healing of wounds and cuts.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
The symptoms of high blood sugar can vary depending on severity.
Early signs and symptoms of high blood sugar
When your blood sugar is around 200 mg/dL, but not yet dangerously high, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Increased thirst
- Shortness of breath
If you are experiencing any of the later-stage symptoms of high blood sugar, seek immediate medical attention.
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What Is Blood Glucose Anyway
Blood glucose, or sugar, is sugar that is in your blood . It comes from the food that you eat foods that contain carbohydrate, such as bread, pasta and fruit are the main contributors to blood glucose. The cells in our bodies need glucose for energy and we all need energy to move, think, learn and breathe. The brain, which is the command center, uses about half of all the energy from glucose in the body.
High And Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
The chart below shows the concerning values of blood sugar levels for diabetic patients. Red levels are indicators that require emergency treatment, while yellow levels indicate medical attention but not an emergency.
|Chart of High and Low Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetes|
|Blood sugar level status|
|71 to 90 mg/dL|
High Blood Sugar Levels Range
Low Blood Sugar Levels Range
High blood sugar range is between 180 to 250 mg/dL, while below 70 mg/dl is low. Above 250 mg/dL and under 50 mg/dL requires immediate medical attention.
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Normal Blood Sugar 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. Major factors affecting for such change in the blood glucose levels are as follows:
How Does Hba1c Return An Accurate Average Measurement Of Average Blood Glucose
When the body processes sugar, glucose in the bloodstream naturally attaches to haemoglobin.
The amount of glucose that combines with this protein is directly proportional to the total amount of sugar that is in your system at that time.
Because red blood cells in the human body survive for 8-12 weeks before renewal, measuring glycated haemoglobin can be used to reflect average blood glucose levels over that duration, providing a useful longer-term gauge of blood glucose control.
If your blood sugar levels have been high in recent weeks, your HbA1c will also be greater.
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Controlling Blood Glucose Levels
Uncontrolled blood sugar can result in regular episodes of hyperglycemia . This can cause a variety of symptoms including:
- Dry mouth
These symptoms are uncomfortable to experience but there are things you can do at home to reduce your blood sugar. In terms of drinks, water is the best as it will help to maintain hydration and dilute excess sugar in the blood. Also, try to add more fiber to your diet to reduce your blood sugar apples, bananas, oranges, and strawberries are all fibrous fruits.
However, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can also lead to more severe, long term disease. Poorly managed diabetes leads to vision loss, kidney problems, nerve damage, heart attack, and stroke. Therefore, if your blood sugar level reaches 16.7mmol/L, this could be dangerous and you need to seek immediate medical attention.
Beyond Normal Goals: Whats An Optimal Glucose Level And Why Does It Matter
Exact numbers for what is considered optimal glucose levels to strive for while using CGM to achieve your best health are not definitively established this is a question that is individual-specific and should be discussed with your healthcare provider. With that said, research shows that there is an increased risk of health problems as fasting glucose increases, even if it stays within the normal range, making finding your optimal glucose levels all the more important.
While the International Diabetes Federation and other research studies have shown that a post-meal glucose spike should be less than 140 mg/dL in a nondiabetic individual, this does not determine what value for a post-meal glucose elevation is truly optimal for your health. All that number tells us is that in nondiabetics doing an oral glucose tolerance test, researchers found that these individuals rarely get above a glucose value of 140 mg/dL after meals.
So, while this number may represent a proposed upper limit of whats normal, it may not indicate what will serve you best from a health perspective. Many people may likely do better at lower post-meal glucose levels. Similarly, while the ADA states that a fasting glucose less than 100 mg/dL is normal, it does not indicate what value is optimal for health.
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