What Should My Blood Sugar Levels Be
Your blood sugar level changes depending on what you’ve eaten, whether you’ve exercised and other factors but we have some general guidelines to determine what levels are healthy.
For generally healthy individuals who haven’t eaten for 8 hours or more, a normal blood sugar level is between 70-99 mg/dL. When you’ve eaten in the past 2 hours, it should be no higher than 140 mg/dL. To refresh your chemistry knowledge, that unit is milligrams per deciliter and it’s measuring the amount of glucose present in your blood.
Only a medical professional can diagnose diabetes or another issue with your blood sugar, so if you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels, check with a doctor.
How To Get Started With A Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plan
For many people, at least initially, following a diabetes diet may seem harder than it should be. Thats understandable after all, it can seem very, very challenging to change current eating habits and find the right food rhythm to fit your lifestyle. It may ease your mind to know you will still be able to incorporate your favorite foods into a healthy diet while being mindful of your diabetes diet goals .
While the idea of changing your diet can be confusing and overwhelming at first, research shows that making healthy lifestyle choices can help you manage your blood sugar levels in the short term and may even prevent many of the long-term health complications associated with diabetes, says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, author of The Diabetes Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed.
You dont have to go it alone: Seek advice from a registered dietitian or certified diabetes care and education specialist who has the right training to help you come up with an individualized meal plan that will help you meet your self-management goals, get the nutrition you need, and show you how you can incorporate some of your favorite foods into your diet so that you continue to enjoy eating.
Hopefully, your doctor has someone on the team, but if not, call your health insurer to ask for the names of a few in-network RD/CDEs.
When Would I Need An A1c Test
If you have diabetes, you should have an A1C test two or more times a year to see how well your management plan is working. Your healthcare team will recommend exactly how often you should get this test.
If you dont have a diabetes diagnosis, a healthcare provider may order an A1C test if you have symptoms of the condition, including:
- Lack of activity or exercise.
- Being over the age of 35.
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What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Needing to urinate more often.
If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
A Cautionary Word About Salt
Some people are sensitive to salt, which causes higher blood pressure when too much sodium is consumed. Since we have no way of testing who is salt-sensitive and who isnt, the best precaution is to limit salt and avoid sodium-containing foods if you may be at risk for high blood pressure.
Simply put, the excess salt in most peoples diets comes from processed foods, so check the package for sodium content. By adopting a diabetes diet that contains mostly whole foods, this issue will no longer present a problem. Also, foods that are flash frozen are as good as fresh.
Canned vegetables usually have added salt as a preservative. Your best bet when buying is to check the food labels for sodium content. Youll want to stay well below the upper recommended limit of 2,300 mg/day, and you can certainly look for low-sodium varieties of canned and processed prepackaged food products.
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What Is Normal Fasting Blood Sugar And What Is A Diabetes Blood Sugar Level
The results of the fasting blood sugar test will come back as a number:
- 99 mg/dL or lower: This is a normal fasting blood sugar level.
- 100125 mg/dL: Fasting blood sugar in this range typically indicates prediabetes. This means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
- 126 mg/dL or above: This indicates high blood sugar, the main sign of diabetes.
If you have a high fasting blood sugar level, your healthcare provider may repeat the test to make sure. If the test reveals that you have prediabetes, your healthcare provider will recommend you repeat the fasting blood sugar test every year or two. The results will help you know whether you are progressing to Type 2 diabetes.
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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.
|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.
|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.
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Whos At Risk For Prediabetes
If you have risk factors for prediabetes, talk to your healthcare provider about getting your blood sugar checked regularly. These prediabetes checks are essential because prediabetes often has no symptoms. You can have it for years and not know it.
You may also be at higher risk of prediabetes due to:
- Parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes.
- Ethnicity. Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or a Pacific Islander.
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Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% .
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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.
Cgm Studies In Nondiabetic Individuals
One study from 2009 entitled Reference Values for Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Chinese Subjects looked at the glucose levels of 434 healthy adults using CGM and found the following:
- On average, their daily glucose levels stayed between 70140 mg/dl for 93% of the day, with very small portions of the day spent above 140 mg/dl or below 70 mg/dl.
- Also, their mean 24-hour glucose levels were around 104 mg/dl
- 1-hour post-meal glucose values average 121-123 mg/dl for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- 3-hour post-meal glucose values were around 97-114 mg/dl.
- Peak post-meal values appeared to be around 60 minutes after eating.
- Mean fasting glucose was 86 ± 7 mg/dl.
- Mean daytime glucose was 106 ± 11 mg/dl.
- Mean nighttime glucose was 99 ± 11 mg/dl.
A 2010 study, Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals, looked at a healthy population of 74 individuals that included children, adolescents, and adults during daily living using CGM. This research showed that:
- Glucose levels stayed between 71-120 mg/dl for 91% of the day.
- Levels were lower than 70 mg/dl for 1.7% of the time and greater than 140 mg/dl, only 0.4% of the time.
- Mean 24-hour glucose was 98 ± 10 mg/dl.
- Mean fasting glucose of 86 ± 8 mg/dl.
Compared to the first study mentioned, these healthy, nondiabetic individuals appeared to have a tighter range of glucose, spending the vast majority of the 24-hour period between 71-120 mg/dl.
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What Are The Treatments For Prediabetes
If you catch it early, prediabetes can usually be reversed with diet and exercise. Depending on how high your blood sugar is when youre first diagnosed, your doctor might elect to put you on one medication or a combination in order to get your glucose back down to a healthy level.
Going on medication for prediabetes treatment is not cut and dry, Antonucci says. Your blood sugar levels, A1C, medical history, and other complications might put you in a situation where medication should be added to your treatment plan to avoid type 2 its case by case, so work with your doctor to arrive at the best treatment for you.
Type 2 Diabetes And Exercise
Lifestyle management of diabetes isnt just about what you eat. Physical activity also plays an important role. The best type of exercise for managing type 2 diabetes is a combination of cardio exercise, like brisk walking, and strength training. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity. A variety of activities can count toward your goal.¹ In addition to brisk walking, examples of moderately intense exercise include dancing, mowing the lawn, swimming, biking, dancing, and doing housework, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most important is to find activities you enjoy doing, which makes exercise easier to stick with.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels Chart
Every substance present in our body has an optimum level. Above or below that specific range, that particular substance is harmful to our health. And so is sugar. There is a certain range of blood sugar which is considered as standard for almost all age. However, there might be some changes in the level considering different factors like age and other co-morbidities. Lets look at the chart:
Sometimes, random blood is also taken. In this case, the glucose level of 200 mg/dl is considered a diabetic condition.
Going through the chart you will notice certain terms regarding blood sugar which you need to understand in order to evaluate your own glucose level. So, I will just give a small brief regarding those:
- Fasting blood glucose: Here, blood sugar is tested after abstaining from food and drink for at least 8 hours.
- Postprandial blood sugar:In this case, blood sugar is tested 2 hours after a meal to access if its at the optimum level after having a meal or not.
- Random blood glucose: Blood is tested at any time of the day.
- HbA1c: It refers to a blood test which is done to evaluate the average level of blood glucose over the past 3 months. HbA1c is also known as glycosylated haemoglobin or A1C. Moreover, fasting is not required before carrying out the test.
When Would I Need A Blood Glucose Test
There are three main reasons why you may need a blood glucose test:
- Your healthcare provider may have ordered routine bloodwork called a basic metabolic panel or a comprehensive metabolic panel , which both include a glucose blood test.
- You may be having symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar, which could indicate diabetes or another condition.
- If you take a long-term medication that affects your blood sugar levels, such as corticosteroids, you may need routine glucose blood tests to monitor your levels.
The most common use of a blood glucose test is to screen for Type 2 diabetes , which is a common condition. Certain people are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have risk factors, your provider will likely recommend regular screening no matter your age. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular screening for anyone age 35 or older.
Your provider will also order a blood glucose test if you have symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar .
Symptoms of diabetes and high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very thirsty .
- Intense hunger.
- Anxiousness or irritability.
You need to consume carbohydrates to treat hypoglycemia, such as a banana or apple juice. Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.
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What High Blood Sugar Feels Like
The symptoms can include:
- Breath that smells like fruit
These are symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis . Your body burns glucose for energy. When your cells donât get enough of it, they burn fat. That produces chemicals called ketones. When these build up, your blood becomes more acid-like. This can be life-threatening if itâs not treated.