When it comes to blood sugar levels, the numbers always seem to confuse people. So we're here today to cover a whole range of reader questions that have come in.
If you have questions of your own, join the discussion – please feel free to leave your comments at the bottom. 🙂
Healthy blood sugar goal ranges
Healthy blood sugar control values will depend on several factors, the most important being when you check it.
Blood glucose levels will rise after eating meals regardless of whether a person has diabetes–however, someone with good control will be able to bring it down to a stable level after 2 hours.
The diagnostic values below are for non pregnant adults with type 2 diabetes. Ranges are different for children, those with type I diabetes and pregnant women.
AFTER MEALS 2 HOURS
70-99 mg/dL (4-6 mmol/L)*
<140 mg/dL (<7.8 mmol/L)**
100-125 mg/dL (6.1-6.9 mmol/L)
>126 mg/dL (>7 mmol/L)
6.5% and higher
*Note that different agencies establish different standards. Some range 70-100 mg/dL, some 70-110 mg/dL, some 70-130 mg/dL
**Some agencies recommend <180 mg/dL post-meal especially in the elderly and those who have had diabetes for a very long time
What should your goals be? That is between you and your healthcare team because it does depend on various factors. But overall your goal is to gain good control of your diabetes, which means maintaining normal levels or getting as close to normal levels as possible (refer to the normal numbers above).
We’ve answered some specific questions regarding blood sugar over here, so be sure to check those out as well.
Some specific comments and questions we’ve received regarding blood sugar levels include:
1. My post meal is hovering around 140-160, what steps can I take to reduce it? My meals are well-regulated and low carb.
I would be curious as to your pre-meal reading and compare the two. While 140-160 (7.8-8.9) is slightly higher than optimal, it’s not that far out of range. Below 140 (7.8) post meal is very good. ADA goals recommend post meal readings under 180 (10), which you would meet but below 140 (7.8) is always a better goal to aim for.
My other question would be how long after meals are you checking your sugars?
It should be 2 hours from the first bite of your meal. If you are checking too soon after, insulin has not yet had sufficient time to bring them down to a reasonable level.
Finally, be sure you are including sufficient protein and fat with your meals, which will help to slow down the post-meal rise and keep it more stable. In addition check this info for more ways to keep your blood sugar controlled.
2. So my doctor has me checking my blood sugar and I am supposed to bring her my results in a week. However on this, my first day I am lost when it comes to understanding my readings! When I feel normal it’s at 112 (6.2) but when I feel sick or shaky its at 65 (3.6). Can you explain please?
Because 112 (6.2) is a normal reading it makes sense that you’d feel normal and because 65 (3.6) is way below normal, it makes sense that you’d feel poorly at this reading. Please check this info to help explain in greater detail what these numbers mean.
While diabetes is primarily a condition of elevated glucose (hyPERglycemia), many also experience low blood sugar (hyPOglycemia–you can read more about hypoglycemia here) for a variety of reasons, the top one being medication.
Blood sugars less than 70 (3.9) will often produce the exact symptoms you described: sweaty, shaking, clammy hands and dizziness – symptoms of hyPOglycemia. The goal is to avoid this by eating a balanced diet, do not skip meals and take any prescribed medications appropriately.
If you do experience hypoglycemia, the rule of 15 applies: take 15 grams of carbohydrates, wait 15 minutes, then check again. When it is normalized, have a small snack with some protein to help keep it stable.
3. I was told I have diabetes. My sugar was 241 (13.3) and I was put on a pill. I have experienced sweating shaking and I am always tired. I just tested and my reading was at 83 (4.6) but still shaky and blurred vision.
It is difficult to respond without quite a bit more information such as what pill you started taking, the dosing, and several other factors. But, my initial thought is you may be experiencing hypoglycemia. While technically your reading of 83 (4.6) is not in the hypoglycemic range, when there is a drastic shifting in your blood glucose and your body isn’t used to it, you can still experience hypoglycemia.
Even though 83 (4.6) is a ‘normal’ level, it is quite a jump from 241 (13.3). Obviously whatever you are taking is effective at reducing glucose, but it may be too high an initial dose for your body to handle. I would encourage you to discuss this with your physician who prescribed the medication asap. Do not change medications or alter dosing without discussing with your doctor and pharmacist as this can be harmful.
4. I am a diabetes patient of 8 years. My sugar is fasting 200 (11.1) and after two hours 287 (15.9) and cholesterol 570. I use many medicines but not control this time. I use insulin 16 units in 24 hours and use of tablet Veldomnet 50/800 1+0+1. How can I do better?
I’m unfamiliar with Veldomnet, but all medications have to be discussed with your prescribing physician. It is not our place to advise you medically.
We can encourage you to ensure your are following a healthy, balanced carb-controlled diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, managing your stress, and maintaining a healthy weight – aside from your medications, these are 5 key areas you could likely do better.
We know that lifestyle changes go a long way to improving blood sugar control and overall outcomes on your health!
5. I have type 2 diabetes and would like to know how to hold a 6.9 a1c level. What would my morning fasting blood level need to be?
This is a very good question. Your HbA1c is a 3 month snapshot of how well your glucose levels have been running on average. Whereas your daily readings are an actual number of how much glucose is in your blood at any given time.
There is an A1c to EAG calculator that estimates your average glucose based on A1c and vice versa. An A1c of 6.9 yields an average glucose of 151.
Here is a chart of A1c to estimated average glucose (EAG).
Just be aware, this is taking into consideration average of all values including both fasting and post-meal. Because the A1c is an overall 3 month average, it isn’t possible to answer your question exactly because blood glucose is measured daily. But know that a healthy fasting glucose level is under 110 mg/dL (6 mmol/l) and preferably under 100 (5.6).
6. Fasting blood glucose 99 mg/dl (5.4 mmol/l), also have pcos. Concerned about whether it is normal fasting blood glucose range or not.
Fasting blood glucose under 100 (5.6) is normal unless you are pregnant. PCOS can render glucose control more challenging, but is seems you are doing well considering you have this condition.
Know that you are at the brink of ‘pre-diabetes’ with a fasting of 99, but it is still considered normal range. Ensuring you are following a balanced low carb diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a realistic weight (sometimes with PCOS achieving a ‘normal’ BMI is not realistic) will help keep you below that pre-diabetes marker.
7. My step dads sugar is at 551 (30.5). Never can he get it under 400 (22) even with his meds, what should we do?
Any blood sugar level exceeding 350-400 (19-22) is considered medically dangerous and your step dad should call his physician’s office immediately.
With glucose levels at 551 (30.5) he will be advised to go to the hospital where they can stabilize his levels via intravenous insulin and other measures. It is unlikely he will be able to resolve this issue on his own at home.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Nonketotic Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Syndrome are both life-threatening and can cycle into a coma and even death if not treated immediately. Please contact your physician if this is the case.
Also ensure that the meter you are using is calibrated and the readings you are getting are accurate because living with levels this high day in and day out is dangerous and can lead to serious diabetic complications.
Hope all this info helps cover some of your own questions. If not, feel free to leave your questions below.
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