What is normal blood sugar?

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Blood glucose (blood sugar ) is made from carbohydrates in the diet to provide energy to the body's cells. Normally, the body regulates blood glucose levels, so there is always enough for fuel cells, but not so much that the bloodstream is overloaded with sugar, which could cause significant tissue damage.

In people with diabetes, this delicate balance is disturbed by problems with insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps keep blood glucose levels stable and stable.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin or does not produce insulin at all. In type 2 diabetes, you make too little insulin and / or your body can't use it properly. The same is true for gestational diabetes, a temporary form of the disease that develops during pregnancy.

Lack of insulin or insulin resistance results in higher than normal blood glucose levels.

Because blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day depending on when you last ate, what you ate, exercise, and other factors, glucose control is a key aspect of treating all types of diabetes, especially for those who take insulin .

Ideal blood glucose

The exact blood glucose level that is considered ideal for you depends, among other factors, on your age, the length of your diabetes, medications, and any other medical conditions.

Also, different healthcare organizations differ in what they consider to be the ideal glucose level.

If you have diabetes and controlling your blood glucose is part of your treatment strategy, your healthcare provider will have the final say on what your target glucose should be at any time of the day.

However, according to the American Diabetes Association, there are some general parameters that you should be aware of.

Preprandial (before meals)

Blood glucose before meals is the blood sugar level before meals.

Checking your blood glucose before meals and, this is key, recording it in a log or app will allow you and your healthcare provider to identify trends in blood sugar rises and falls over time. This is an indicator of how effective your diabetes care is.

Blood glucose goals before meals
Human objective
Adults (not pregnant) 80 to 130 mg / dL
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes Less than 95 mg / dL
Pregnant women with pre-existing type 1 or 2 diabetes 70 mg / dl to 95 mg / dl

Fasting blood glucose

Every morning, a few hours before waking up, everyone experiences a hormonal surge called the dawn phenomenon . In people with diabetes, this hormonal spike results in higher than normal blood sugar levels because they do not have a normal insulin response to adapt.

The dawn phenomenon occurs because the body produces less insulin at night as the liver produces more glucose. Lack of insulin leads to high blood sugar in the morning.

Postprandial (after eating)

Postprandial blood glucose refers to blood sugar levels within one to two hours after meals and snacks.

As with the prerandial blood glucose test, it is important to record your level each time you do it.

You should also write down everything you ate and how much. This provides additional information about how your body responds to certain foods, which in turn can help you and your healthcare provider adjust your diet and other aspects of your diabetes management plan.

Target blood glucose level after a meal
Human objective
Adults (not pregnant) Less than 180 mg / dL
Women with gestational diabetes, 1 hour after eating Less than 140 mg / dL
Women with gestational diabetes, 2 hours after eating Less than 120 mg / dL
Pregnant women with pre-existing type 1 or 2 diabetes 1 hour after eating 110-140 mg / dl
Pregnant women with pre-existing type 1 or 2 diabetes, 2 hours after eating 100-120 mg / dl

Before and after training

Regular physical activity is a key part of managing diabetes. This is especially true for people with type 2 diabetes, as losing weight can make a big difference to overall health. For people with type 1 diabetes, exercise can help increase insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar.

However, because physical activity uses energy, it depletes glucose cells, drawing glucose from the bloodstream and potentially causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Checking your blood sugar before and after outdoor activities can tell you if you have enough glucose to fuel your workout and how much you have depleted it during your workout.

Target glucose ranges vary from person to person, but in general it is ideal for your blood sugar to be between 126 mg / dL and 180 mg / dL before beginning exercise.

If you have tested your blood glucose level and it is below 126 mg / dL, here are the steps you should take based on the exact reading you get.

Pre-workout blood glucose target
Blood glucose before training To do
90 mg / dL or less Eat 10-20 grams (g) of carbohydrates and wait until your glucose is above 90 mg / dL. This should go well with a peanut butter apple.
90 mg / dl to 124 mg / dl Eat 10 grams of carbohydrates (for example, a protein bar with 10 grams of carbohydrates), then begin high intensity aerobic or anaerobic exercise.
126 mg / dl to 180 mg / dl You can do aerobic or anaerobic exercise, but keep track of your glucose levels as you exercise.
182 mg / dL to 270 mg / dL Continue doing aerobic or anaerobic exercise; if you do the latter, check your blood glucose levels.
More than 270 mg / dl Check your blood ketone levels with a urinalysis. If it increases slightly (up to 1.4 mmol / L), you can do a short and light workout. Do not exercise if your blood ketone level is 1.5 mmol / L; instead, check with your healthcare professional to find out how to control your elevated glucose levels.

After exercising, check your blood glucose level immediately and again after two to four hours to see if the drop has slowed. If your blood sugar is lower at this point, continue to check it every two to four hours, or until it stops dropping and you are sure your glycogen is back to normal.

A1C test levels

In addition to regular glucose self-monitoring, if your glycemic control is stable, your healthcare provider will likely want you to have a hemoglobin A1C test or another test twice a year.

If you don't have adequate blood sugar control or have recently changed your medications, your healthcare provider may want to take A1C or other tests at least four times a year.

A1C target results
Human objective
Most non-pregnant adults Less than 7%
Adults who are not taking any medications or are only taking oral medications; have a long shelf life; or do not have severe cardiovascular disease Less than 6.5%
Adults with a history of hyperglycemia ; limited life expectancy; or advanced microvascular or macrovascular diseases Less than 8%
According to the American Diabetes Association

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Testing your blood glucose levels throughout the day can help you control your blood glucose by identifying how food, exercise, stress, illness, and other factors affect your blood glucose level. Your certified diabetes instructor or healthcare provider can help you design a daily testing regimen to fit your schedule.

If you are taking insulin or oral diabetes medications that can cause hypoglycemia, or if you have poor glucose control, you will probably need to check your blood sugar fairly often. But that's not a bad thing – it just means you need to keep a close eye on fluctuations in glucose levels to cope with them and get on with your day.

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