Recommended Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.
In addition, the International Diabetes Federations target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.
The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.
|Target Levels by Type|
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Tip For Lowering Blood Pressure: Get Your Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is linked to high blood pressure, experts say. “Sleep experts recommend that adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night,” says Dr. Lopez-Jiminez. “Getting less than six hours of sleep is known to be bad for overall health. Stress, jet lag, shift work and other sleep disturbances make it more likely to develop heart disease and risk factors for heart disease, including obesity and diabetes. A regular lack of sleep may lead to high blood pressure in children and adults.
“The less you sleep, the higher your blood pressure may go. People who sleep six hours or less may have steeper increases in blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, not sleeping well may make your blood pressure worse. It’s thought that sleep helps the body control hormones needed to control stress and metabolism. Over time, a lack of sleep could cause swings in hormones. Hormone changes can lead to high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease.”
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.
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How Does Food Affect My Blood Sugar
When you eat, your body breaks food down into carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
You need all of these parts for a healthy diet, but carbohydrates are really important when it comes to your blood glucose level. However, not all carbs change into blood sugar at the same rate.
Examples of foods that fit into each carb category include:
- Starches, or complex carbohydrates: Starchy vegetables, dried beans, and grains
- Sugars: Fruits, baked goods, beverages, and processed food items like cereals
- Fiber: Whole wheat products, chickpeas, lentils, berries, pears, and Brussels sprouts
The glycemic index is a carb ranking system that uses a scale ranging from zero to 100. You can use the GI to find out how different foods affect your blood sugar levels.
High GI foods are quickly processed and can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Low index foods are more slowly processed which leads to smaller blood glucose level changes.
What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can all help. Other tips include:
- 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 .
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Knowing Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, the frequency of testing your blood glucose level depends on your treatment plan, so follow your doctors advice on the appropriate times for you.
Common times to check are in the morning, before and after meals, before and after exercise, at bedtime, and if you feel sick. Some people may not need to check their blood sugar daily.
What you eat and what you do for physical activity affect your blood sugar. But theres no way to know what effect they have unless you test your blood sugar.
Blood glucose meters are used to test blood sugar levels so you can see if your levels are within the target range. Your doctor will also work with you on your individualized range.
What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, comes from the food you eat. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting some food into a sugar that circulates in your bloodstream.
Blood sugar is used for energy. The sugar that isnt needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use.
Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful. Type 2 diabetes is a disease thats characterized by having higher levels of blood sugar than whats considered within normal limits.
Unmanaged diabetes can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
The more you know about how eating affects blood sugar, the better you can protect yourself against diabetes. If you already have diabetes, its important to know how eating affects blood sugar.
Your body breaks down everything you eat and absorbs the food in its different parts. These parts include:
- vitamins and other nutrients
The carbohydrates you consume turn into blood sugar. The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher the levels of sugar youll have released as you digest and absorb your food.
Carbohydrates in liquid form consumed by themselves are absorbed more quickly than those in solid food. So having a soda will cause a faster rise in your blood sugar levels than eating a slice of pizza.
Fiber is one component of carbohydrates that isnt converted into sugar. This is because it cant be digested. Fiber is important for health, though.
- white grain products, such as pasta and rice
- cold processed cereals
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What Are Recommended Pre
A blood sugar levelless than 140 mg/dL is normal. A reading of more than 200 mg/dL after two hours indicates diabetes. A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dL indicates prediabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association , the recommended pre-meal blood sugar range is between 80-130 mg/dL. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has more strict blood sugar goals than the ADA but doesnt have a specific pre-meal blood sugar recommendation.
Instead, the AADE recommends that fasting blood sugars are below 110 mg/dL and blood sugars two hours after a meal are less than 140 mg/dL .
Blood sugar goals for women with gestational diabetes are the most strict, as a high blood glucose level during pregnancy can lead to adverse outcomes in the mother and baby. Its recommended that women with gestational diabetes maintain blood sugar less than 95 mg/dL before meals.
Normal And Diabetic Blood Sugar Ranges
For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows:
- Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L when fasting
- Up to 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating
For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:
- Before meals : 4 to 7 mmol/L for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- After meals : under 9 mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes and under 8.5mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes
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When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Two hours after a meal.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
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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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Ketoacidosis: When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, it is important to recognize and treat hyperglycemia because if left untreated it can lead to a dangerous condition called .
This happens because without glucose, the body’s cells must use ketones as a source of energy. Ketoacidosis develops when ketones build up in the blood. It can become serious and lead to diabetic coma or even death.
According to the American Diabetes Association, ketoacidosis affects people with type 1 diabetes, but it rarely affects people with type 2 diabetes.
Many symptoms of ketoacidosis are similar to hyperglycemia. The hallmarks of ketoacidosis are:
High level of ketones in the urine
Shortness of breath
Additionally, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and confusion may accompany ketoacidosis. Immediate medical attention is highly recommended if you have any of these symptoms.
Some people with diabetes are instructed by their doctor to regularly test ketone levels. Ketone testing is performed two ways: using urine or using blood.
For a urine test, you dip a special type of test strip into your urine. For testing blood ketones, a special meter and test strips are used. The test is performed exactly like a blood glucose test.
If ketone testing is part of your self-monitoring of diabetes, your health care professional will provide you with other information including prevention.
Get A Head Start On Protein
Breakfast seems to be a particularly good time to load up on protein. In a study published in April 2015 in the Journal of Nutrition, people with diabetes who ate 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast had lower blood sugar spikes after both breakfast and lunch than those who ate less. Reduced-fat cheese and egg whites are excellent , according to the ADA. Other protein-rich ideas for breakfast when you have diabetes include a breakfast burrito, for example. But because people respond differently to different foods, says Champion, its important to keep tracking your blood sugar to see how various breakfast foods affect you specifically.
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Beware Of The Label Sugar
Grocery shopping can be confusing, since at first glance, many foods may seem healthier than they are. Smart food choices can be hard to make. Watch out for sugar-free alternatives, which are better than the real-sugar versions, but hardly healthy.
In addition, says Champion, just because a food is labeled sugar free, reduced sugar, or no sugar added doesnt mean its carbohydrate free, too. This means the food can still cause your blood sugar to rise. Your best bet is to look at the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient label on the back of the package, she says. Dont rely on advertising claims on the front of the package.
The ADA suggests that rather than just looking at the sugar content, always check the total amount of carbohydrates in a product which includes the amounts of starch, fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohols. This total will give you a more accurate idea of how a food may actually affect your blood sugar levels.
How Is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed
If you have diabetes and notice a sudden change in your blood sugar levels during your home monitoring, you should alert your doctor of your symptoms. The increase in blood sugar may affect your treatment plan.
Regardless of whether you have diabetes, if you begin experiencing any symptoms of hyperglycemia, you should speak to your doctor. Before going to your appointment, you should note what symptoms youre experiencing. You should also consider these questions:
- Has your diet changed?
- Have you had enough water to drink?
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Were you just in the hospital for surgery?
- Were you involved in an accident?
Once at your doctors appointment, your doctor will discuss all of your concerns. Theyll perform a brief physical exam and discuss your family history. Your doctor will also discuss your target blood sugar level.
If youre age 59 or younger, a safe blood sugar range is generally between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . This is also the projected range for people who dont have any underlying medical conditions.
People who are age 60 or older and those who have other medical conditions or concerns may have levels between 100 and 140 mg/dL.
Your doctor may conduct an A1C test to determine what your average blood sugar level has been in recent months. This is done by measuring the amount of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
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Learn More About Blood Glucose Management> >
The reason blood glucose tends to spike after eating in many people with diabetes is a simple matter of timing. In a person who doesnt have diabetes, eating foods containing carbohydrate causes two important reactions in the pancreas: the immediate release of insulin into the bloodstream, and the release of a hormone called amylin. The insulin starts working almost immediately and finishes its job in a matter of minutes. The amylin keeps food from reaching the small intestine too quickly . As a result, the moment blood glucose starts to rise, insulin is there to sweep the incoming glucose into the bodys cells. In most cases, the after-meal blood glucose rise is barely noticeable.
However, in people with diabetes, the situation is like that of a batter with very slow reflexes facing a pitcher who throws 98-mph fastballs: The timing is all fouled up. Rapid-acting insulin that is injected at mealtimes takes approximately 15 minutes to start working, 6090 minutes to peak, or reach maximum effectiveness, and four hours or more to finish working. Meanwhile, amylin is either produced in insufficient amounts or not at all, so the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines is not slowed the way it should be. As a result, food digests even faster than usual. This combination of slower insulin and faster food can cause the blood glucose level to rise quite high soon after eating. Once the mealtime insulin finally kicks in, the high is followed by a sharp drop.
Eat The Majority Of Your Calories Early In The Day
Dinner may be thought of as the biggest meal of the day, but if you have elevated blood sugar, you should stop thinking of things that way. And dont save your calories for a big meal either.
Eating more of your calories earlier in the day can improve blood sugar levels since our bodies follow a circadian rhythm where we process food better during daylight hours, Harris-Pincus explains. People who eat a larger breakfast and lunch with a smaller dinner have been shown to improve blood sugar more than people consuming the same amount of calories but during evening hours.
Plus, when you jam everything in later in the evening at dinner, especially if you eat dinner close to bedtime, your belly might feel too full, and GI distress could prevent you from falling asleep comfortably.
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Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome : When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 2 Diabetes
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome is very rare, but you should be aware of it and know how to handle it if it occurs.
HHNS is when your blood glucose level goes way too highyou become extremely hyperglycemic. HHNS affects people with type 2 diabetes.
HHNS is most likely to occur when you’re sick, and elderly people are most likely to develop it.
It starts when your blood glucose level starts to climb: when that happens, your body will try to get rid of all the excess glucose through frequent urination. That dehydrates your body, and you’ll become very thirsty.
Unfortunately, when you’re sick, it’s sometimes more difficult to rehydrate your body. For example, it might be difficult to keep fluids down.
When you don’t rehydrate your body, the blood glucose level continues to climb, and it can eventually go so high that it could send you into a coma.
To avoid hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, you should keep close watch on your blood glucose level when you’re sick .
Talk to your health care professional about having a sick-day plan to follow that will help you avoid HHNS.
You should also be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of HHNS, which include:
Extremely high blood glucose level
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