Why Check Blood Sugar Levels
If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.
Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.
But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.
The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.
How To Keep Your Child Healthy
Dont worry. Here are some tips that can keep your child healthy. Being a mother or father, you should do these simple things to keep your child healthy.
- Try to be the best friend of your child.
- You should try to avoid junk food and too much sweet to your child.
- Make sure that they are getting enough sleep.
- Help them in doing exercise.
- Routinely visit your child to a nearby pediatrician even if your child is healthy.
- Do not make them permanent of a sedentary lifestyle. Instead, keep them active.
- Give them small tasks, so they make a habit of doing his/her work by him/herself.
All these hacks will help you a lot in becoming a responsible parent.
Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels
It is important to work with your doctor to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The following is a list of healthy blood sugar levels.
If an individual has type 1 diabetes the blood sugar should be the following:
- Before meals: From 90 to 130 mg/dL for adults
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL for adults
- At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL for adults
If an individual has type 2 diabetes, levels should be the following:
- Before meals: From 70 to 130 mg/dL for adults
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL for adults
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.
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How Does Fasting Blood Sugar Test Work
When we dont eat anything for as long as 8 hours, the sugar level in our body goes down. Then our liver secrets some stored glucose in our blood vessels which will move into body cells with the help of insulin. So, in a fasting blood sugar test if your blood sugar level is more than normal that means your body lacks insulin and you may have diabetes.
Low Blood Sugar Levels
Blood sugar that is too low can cause symptoms such as:
- shaking and sweating
As with low blood sugar, high blood sugar may cause loss of consciousness or seizures if people leave them untreated. Persistent high levels can increase the risk of serious complications that doctors relate to diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease.
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What Is The Range For Non Fasting Glucose
Blood Sugar LevelsnotlevelsTests for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes
Other Reasons For High Morning Blood Sugar Levels
If you continuously wake up with high blood sugar levels and haven’t eaten a bedtime snack the night before, your doctor may need to prescribe you more basal insulin , says Dr. Spratt.
However, if you typically eat a snack that contains carbohydrates before going to bed and don’t counteract it with rapid-acting insulin, your blood sugar levels may be higher in the morning as a result. Switch to a snack that won’t raise your blood sugar levels for example, a pairing of ham and cheese or a few bites of non-sweetened peanut butter, she says.
Lastly, if your blood sugar levels dip too low in the middle of the night, your body may release hormones that “rescue” you from dangerously low levels, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The result is that your liver releases stored glucose, causing your blood sugar levels to be higher than usual in the morning. This is called the Somogyi effect.
If you’re experiencing low blood sugar in the four to six hours after a meal, that’s a sign that your basal insulin dose is too high, says Dr. Spratt.
“A lot of people have lows of which they are not aware of,” she says. “They wake up and their blood sugar is high and assume they must need more insulin at night.” But, she explains, it’s important to check your blood sugar at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. to make sure you aren’t experiencing a drop in glucose levels.
What Is Hemoglobin A1c
Hemoglobin A1C is a lab test. It indicates an average blood glucose reading for the last 90 days. It is done when you find out you have diabetes, and every 3 months after that at clinic visits. A person without diabetes has a Hemoglobin A1C of less than 5.6%.
Target Hgb A1C is 7.5% for all children and adults with diabetes.
The chart below shows the Hemoglobin A1C result compared with the blood glucose number.
When To See A Doctor
If a persons blood sugar levels are high more than three times in a 2-week period without an apparent reason, the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommend that they seek medical help.
Any significant change in blood sugar patterns warrants a visit to a doctor. People with diabetes and those at risk of diabetes should also consult a doctor if:
- blood sugar levels become unusually high or low
- well-managed blood sugar levels are suddenly start fluctuating
- people have new or worsening symptoms of diabetes
- they change their medication or stop using it
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What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia
There are simple ways to reduce your risk of severe or prolonged hyperglycaemia:
- Be careful what you eat be particularly aware of how snacking and eating sugary foods or carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level.
- Stick to your treatment plan remember to take your insulin or other diabetes medications as recommended by your care team.
- Be as active as possible getting regular exercise can help stop your blood sugar level rising, but you should check with your doctor first if you’re taking diabetes medication, as some medicines can lead to hypoglycaemia if you exercise too much.
- Take extra care when you’re ill your care team can provide you with some “sick day rules” that outline what you can do to keep your blood sugar level under control during an illness.
- Monitor your blood sugar level your care team may suggest using a device to check your level at home so you can spot an increase early and take steps to stop it.
Page last reviewed: 08 August 2018 Next review due: 08 August 2021
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Random Glucose Testing And Exercise
Exercise can play a role in your random glucose test results. Generally, exercise will lower glucose levels. It may even require you to adjust your insulin regimen if youre on intensive insulin therapy.
This shouldnt discourage you from exercising. Exercise is one of the best ways you can help control diabetes. Most people with diabetes gain benefits from even moderate exercise.
Exercise increases your bodys ability to use insulin. It also burns extra glucose in your bloodstream. In the long term, exercise will lead to more stable random glucose test results.
The Nuances Of Low Glucose
In a recent study, researchers reviewed the published literature to see if low fasting glucose levels affected healthy peoples long term risks of health problems, like strokes and heart attacks. They found that healthy non-diabetic people who had baseline fasting glucose levels of less than 72 mg/dl had a 56% increase in all-cause mortality compared to people with normal fasting blood glucose levels. Also, the risks for heart attacks and strokes were higher in people with baseline fasting glucose levels less than 72 mg/dl. This result is likely due to the body releasing more epinephrine to counteract the low glucose levels too much epinephrine for too long leads to heart problems. Interestingly, people with low fasting glucose levels of less than 83 mg/dl but higher than 72 mg/dl did not have an increased risk of future heart attacks and strokes.
While there has been an association between low fasting plasma glucose levels and worse health outcomes, it is not clear whether transient dips in glucose levels during a continuous 24-hour period are unhealthy for nondiabetic individuals. Part of the reason that this is unknown is that continuous glucose monitoring is a relatively new technology and has been studied more extensively in diabetic individuals than in healthy individuals.
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How To Control Blood Sugar With Intermittent Fasting
If youd like to try intermittent fasting for blood sugar control, there are a few things for you to consider, especially if you have diabetes.
Choose an intermittent fasting plan that wont cause you stress. During your fast, your insulin levels decrease. In response, your body releases hormones from your liver, one of which is the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol tells the liver to release more glucose. So if youre in a state of stress, or if you have diabetes, your liver is more likely to over-react and release more glucose than you need. As a result, your blood sugar levels will increase.
If youre your blood sugar goes up, and you havent eaten, its likely your liver release glucose into your bloodstream. Exercise is a vital way to utilize sugar in your blood and help your body return to a fat-burning state.
Its uncommon, but fasting can cause you to experience hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. If you have diabetes, this can potentially be dangerous since diabetes medications already put you at risk for low blood sugar. Talk to your doctor about your intent to start a fast, especially if youre on diabetes medications. Its possible for you to fast safely when your doctor manages your diabetes medications appropriately.
Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with Type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with Type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have Type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
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Fasting Glucose Goal: 72
Why? Previously we discussed that the ADA considers normal fasting glucose as anything < 100 mg/dl. However, multiple research studies show that as fasting glucose increases, there is an increased risk of health problems like diabetes and heart disease even if it stays within the normal range. The highlights of some of the study results include:
- Men whose fasting blood glucose was greater than 85 mg/dl had a significantly higher mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases than men with blood sugars less than 85 mg/dl.
- People with fasting glucose levels in the high normal range had significantly increased cardiovascular disease risk than people whose levels remained below 80 mg/dl.
- Children with fasting glucose levels 86-99 mg/dl had more than double the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes as adults when compared with children whose levels were less than 86 mg/dl.
- People with fasting glucose levels between 91-99 mg/dl had a 3-fold increase in type 2 diabetes risk compared to those with levels less than 83 mg/dl.
- Among young, healthy men, higher fasting plasma glucose levels within the normal range constitute an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes. This means that as fasting glucose increases, even if the level is still considered normal, it could indicate a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes, and this is particularly pronounced if BMI is greater than 30. .
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.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.