What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.
You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.
Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.
Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:
- if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
- if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol
The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.
What Causes High Blood Sugar
A variety of things can trigger an increase in blood sugar level in people with diabetes, including:
- missing a dose of your diabetes medicine or taking an incorrect dose
- overtreating an episode of low blood sugar
- taking certain medicines, such as steroids
Occasional episodes of hyperglycaemia can also occur in children and young adults during growth spurts.
Blood Sugar Levels Before And After Eating
Blood sugar levels in our bodies will fluctuate depending on various conditions and circumstances. Here are the different levels:
1. Normal Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
According to the American Diabetics Association, normal blood sugar levels after meals should be 70 mg/dl 140mg/dl.This should be the reading 2 hours after a meal. If the levels are lower than 70mg/dl, it might mean that you have hypoglycemia. If your blood sugar is slightly higher than 140mg/dl, it does not necessarily mean that you have diabetes. However, you might need to have an oral glucose tolerance test later on to determine the severity of your elevated post-meal blood sugar.
2. Normal Levels of Fasting Blood Sugar
This blood sugar level is taken first thing when you wake up before your first meal. A normal level of fasting blood sugar lies from 70mg/dl to 92mg/dl. This is also the blood sugar level for a normal person who has not eaten for the past few hours.
3. Normal Blood Sugar Level for Type 1 Diabetics
American Diabetes Association recommends that blood sugar targets should lie between the following:
Before eating your blood sugar should be:
- Adults: 90-130mg/dl
After 1 to 2 hours after meals, your blood sugar should be:
- Adults: less than 180mg/dl
When going to bed, your blood sugar should be:
- Adults: 90-150mg/dl
4. Normal Blood Sugar Level for Type 2 Diabetics
American Diabetes Association recommends the following blood sugar targets for people with type 2 diabetes:
- Adults: 70-130mg/dl
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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:
Is Diabetes Diagnosed The Same Way In Every Country
There are four methods of diagnosing diabetes, which are used around the world. They are:
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Still Frustrated With Your Blood Sugar And A1c Results
Your blood sugars and your insulin or medication needs never stay in one place. If you gain weight or lose weight, your insulin and medication needs will change. If you become more active or less active, your needs will change. If you make drastic or even small changes to your nutrition, your needs will change!
Working with your diabetes healthcare team, and diabetes coaches who can teach you how to make changes in your overall diabetes management plan are essential. Diabetes is a lifelong learning process.
Take a deep breath and be patient. If you dont like what youre seeing on your glucose meter, dont get madget studying! Take good notes and work with your team to make changes to reach your goals.
Read more about improving your A1c in DiabetesStrongs guide, How to Lower Your A1c.
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The Importance Of Maintaining Good Blood Sugar Levels
You must look after the blood glucose levels to ensure that it is in control. Not maintaining good blood sugar levels may prove risky for your health and might result in an increased risk of diabetes complications. Moreover, alarmingly high blood sugar levels may also increase the risk of health issues such as Nerve damage, Kidney problems, Retinal disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
Eating healthy and exercising daily can help you stay fit and maintain good blood sugar levels. Additionally, you must ask your doctor or diabetes educator to provide you with a proper plan for your treatment.
Individuals with diabetes must be careful about the food they eat otherwise, their health might take a toll. Some foods can enhance the health of diabetic patients, whereas some might deteriorate it and make them suffer. So, lets find out foods that diabetic patients should eat or avoid to stay healthy.
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How Often Need To Check Blood Sugar
This is a common question of how often to check blood sugar. People ask how many times should I check? Because it hurts, especially if youre doing finger sticks that sucks.
Suppose you have a CGM like a Dexcom d6 freestyle labret whatever great. But even then you sometimes have to do finger checks, and most of the time people dont understand when to do finger checks. If they are using a regular meter, then it is another story that you have to understand how many times because you dont want to check too many times.
So basically we are going to start with the most natural patient. So a primary patient who just got diagnosed with diabetes, theyre super nervous. Theyre checking their blood sugar seven-eight times a day well initially. That may be exciting, and you know if youre worked up you want to get this under control.
But eventually, you are going to burn out. So there is a more natural way to do this than just doing seven-eight times a day. Now if you want to, you know still have an understanding of where your blood Sugars are without doing eight times a day do the scattered map.
So scatter your blood sugar checks but make sure that its organized. Your doctor and yourself can look at it and have an understanding now. For example, if you want to check your blood sugar twice a day, this is how you can organize.
Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Dangerous
Yes, low blood sugar symptoms can cause problems such as hunger, nervousness, perspiration, dizziness and even confusion if untreated, low blood sugar may result in unconsciousness, seizures, coma, or death. Low blood sugar levels begin at 70 mg/dL or less. People with diabetes who take too much medication or take their usual amount but then eat less or exercise more than usual can develop hypoglycemia. Although much rarer, hypoglycemia may develop in some people without diabetes when they take someone elses medication, have excessive alcohol consumption, develop severe hepatitis, or develop a rare tumor of the pancreas . The treatment for hypoglycemia is oral glucose intake (15. 0 grams of sugar, for example, 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, corn syrup, or IV fluids containing glucose. Recheck your blood sugar levels in about 15 minutes after treatment is advised.
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How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
What Should I Do With The Results Of My Blood Sugar Determination
There are currently different ways to record blood glucose data:
- Normal registration in the blood glucose diary or notebook
- You must have the most up-to-date results possible as an indicator to make changes in your diet, physical activity, and medications if necessary.
Consult with your doctor and the healthcare professionals responsible for your follow-up on your test results. This way, you will know if your diabetes control is adequate. Get advice from healthcare professionals on what to do if your levels are higher or lower than ideal. Your doctor and educators can suggest changes in diet, physical activity, and medications.
See your doctor if your blood sugar test results are higher or lower than ideal for 2 to 3 days in a row.
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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
How Do I Detect Spikes In My Sugar Levels
The exact timing of blood sugar spikes can vary from person to person and meal to meal. However, on average, the post-meal peaks tend to be about one hour and 15 minutes after starting a meal.
The best way to measure post-meal patterns is by using a continuous glucose monitor or Flash monitors. These devices can give you a clear view, including graphs, of what happens with the glucose levels after meals without the need for finger pricking . You can ask your diabetes health team if they are available for you as they are not available to everybody.
If you are not using a CGM, then please speak to your healthcare team about the best way to do this for you with finger prick testing.
How do I know it is a spike?
There is no universal answer or specific guidelines on when a sugar level is too high after meals. However, if post-meal readings are consistently above your target range , then you should discuss whether it would be beneficial for you to address these spikes and how to do this, with your healthcare team .
If you are reviewing your post-breakfast sugar levels, you should also be aware of changes in your hormones in the morning, which cause increases in sugar levels . This Digibete video may help.
Some ways to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals
1. Choose low glycaemic index foods
When blood sugar levels are low or hypoglycaemic we need high glycaemic index foods , such as dextrose tablets or juice, that are absorbed quickly to raise our levels and to treat the hypo.
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How To Do A Finger
Your healthcare team will show you how to do it the first time, but these are the key steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dont use wet wipes as the glycerine in them can affect the test result. Make sure your hands are warm so its easier to get blood and wont hurt as much.
- Take a test strip and slot it into the meter to turn it on. Some meters will have tests strips built in.
- Remove the cap from your finger prick device and put in a new lancet. Then put the cap back on and set the device by pulling or clicking the plunger.
- Choose which finger to prick but avoid your thumb or index finger . And dont prick the middle, or too close to a nail. Place the device against the side of your finger and press the plunger. Use a different finger each time and a different area.
- Take your meter with the test strip and hold it against the drop of blood. Itll tell you if the test strip is filled, usually by beeping.
- Before you look at your reading, check your finger. Use a tissue to stop bleeding, then use it to take out the lancet and throw it away in your sharps bin.
- You can use the same tissue to take out the test strip and throw that away too. Taking out the strip will usually turn the meter off.
What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Continuous glucose monitoring is another way to check your glucose levels. Most CGM systems use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. The sensor measures glucose levels in the fluids between your bodys cells every few minutes and can show changes in your glucose level throughout the day and night. If the CGM system shows that your glucose is too high or too low, you should check your glucose with a blood glucose meter before making any changes to your eating plan, physical activity, or medicines. A CGM system is especially useful for people who use insulin and have problems with low blood glucose.
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The Best Time To Check Blood Glucose After A Meal
Most of the food you consume will be digested and raises blood glucose in one to two hours. To capture the peak level of your blood glucose, it is best to test one to two hours after you start eating.
Q: I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Should I check my blood glucose two hours from when I start eating or after I finish eating my meal?
A: Most of the food you consume will be digested and raises blood glucose in one to two hours. To capture the peak level of your blood glucose, it is best to test one to two hours after you start eating.
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The American Diabetes Association recommends a target of below 180 mg/dl two hours after a meal. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends a lower target: below 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal.
Ask your doctor which target is right for you. Postmeal blood glucose monitoring is important because it helps you see how your body responds to carbohydrates in general and particular foods. Managing postmeal blood glucose can help reduce your risk of developing heart and circulation problems.
Virginia Zamudio Lange, a member of Diabetic Living’s editorial advisory board, is a founding partner of Alamo Diabetes Team, LLP in San Antonio.
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.
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