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Blood Sugar Chart: Blood Sugar Level and A1c Target

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Understanding what your blood sugar levels should be and what is considered “normal” can be confusing, especially if you have diabetes.

Blood sugar goals can vary from person to person, and to complicate matters, they can also vary by time of day.

This article will help people with and without diabetes understand their blood sugar targets and A1c levels.

Vial of blood on blood sugar chart

Key Point

  • Blood sugar and A1c goals for people with diabetes are different from those for people without diabetes.
  • If you have diabetes, it’s important to discuss your blood sugar and A1c goals with your health care provider, as typical blood sugar and A1c goals may not be appropriate for you. Unawareness, especially if you are elderly, pregnant, or have frequent hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia.
  • Keeping your blood sugar and A1c levels within target ranges as often as possible can help lower your risk of short- and long-term complications.
  • Monitoring your blood sugar levels is important for you and your health care team to know how your diabetes treatment plan is working. If your blood sugar levels are consistently too high or too low, it may indicate that you need to make changes to your diabetes medication or lifestyle measures such as your diet and physical activity.

table of contents

Blood sugar and A1c chart: normoglycemic and diabetic blood sugar ranges

learn more: What is normal blood sugar?

What is blood sugar level?

Also called blood sugar level Blood glucose level, sugar contained in the blood. This type of sugar is the body’s main source of energy, or fuel. It is also the brain’s main energy source.

When you eat, your body breaks down the carbohydrates (carbohydrates) in your food into glucose and releases it into your bloodstream. When glucose levels in the blood begin to rise, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin to move glucose into cells to be used for energy.

How are blood sugar levels controlled in people without diabetes?

Blood sugar levels in the body of people without diabetes are very tightly controlled by two hormones: insulin and glucagon. Excess glucose in the blood is stored as glycogen in the liver.

When the body needs extra glucose for fuel, such as during exercise or during a night’s sleep, glucagon signals the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream. From there, insulin helps move that glucose into cells to be used as energy.

Why is blood sugar level important in diabetes?

Diabetes can cause high blood sugar levels. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin or produces very little insulin. As a result, glucose in the blood is no longer taken up by cells and used for energy.

In type 2 diabetes, cells in the body do not respond well to insulin. Additionally, the pancreas stops producing enough insulin to help regulate blood sugar.

High blood sugar levels are called hyperglycemia. If left untreated, this condition can lead to serious complications. These include:

Other problems caused by high blood sugar include foot problems, periodontal disease, skin problems, and hearing loss.

Untreated short-term hyperglycemia can lead to potentially life-threatening complications, including:

Both conditions require immediate treatment.

fasting blood sugar level

Fasting blood sugar is the blood sugar level that is measured or tested after fasting. “Fasting” means Do not eat or drink anything except water for at least 8 hours.

If you have diabetes and check your blood sugar levels with a meter, your health care provider will likely tell you to check your fasting blood sugar levels. Depending on your sleep schedule, check your blood sugar levels first thing in the morning after you wake up, before you eat breakfast, or before you drink your morning coffee.

For most people with diabetes, the goal is fasting blood sugar levels. 80~130mg/dL. Fasting blood sugar levels for people without diabetes are 70~99mg/dL.

Fasting blood sugar levels above 130 mg/dL may mean that certain hormones are causing your blood sugar levels to get too high (called the dawn phenomenon). Other causes of high fasting blood sugar levels include not enough insulin being secreted or a rebound of high blood sugar after a nighttime low blood sugar level.

Read more: What should your blood sugar levels be at bedtime?

A fasting blood sugar level below 80 mg/dL may mean you are taking too much of your diabetes medication (including insulin). Other causes include not eating enough, being more active than usual, or drinking alcohol without eating.

Postprandial blood sugar level

Meals have a big impact on blood sugar levels, so if you have diabetes, it’s helpful to check your blood sugar levels after meals. This is called a postprandial or postprandial blood sugar check, and its purpose is to figure out the “peak” or highest blood sugar level after a meal.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests the following goals: Less than 180mg/dL For most non-pregnant adults, this is 1 to 2 hours after starting a meal. For people without diabetes, the goal is blood sugar levels. Less than 140mg/dL.

Postprandial blood sugar levels above 180 mg/dL often mean you’ve eaten too much food. carbohydrates. For example, a dinner of pasta and Italian bread is more likely to cause a postprandial blood sugar “spike” than a meal of grilled fish, vegetables, and brown rice.However, the blood sugar level after meals is high. It can also be caused by:

  • forgetting to take diabetes medicine
  • Not taking enough diabetes medication
  • Feeling unwell or stressed
  • not having normal levels of physical activity

Occasional high blood sugar levels after meals are normal if the cause is identified. However, repeatedly high postprandial blood sugar levels can be a cause for concern and may indicate the need to reduce carbohydrate intake or start or adjust diabetes medication. there is.

high blood sugar level

For people with diabetes, high blood sugar usually Blood sugar level is over 180mg/dL 1-2 hours after meals.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia may occur when blood sugar levels exceed 180 mg/dL. These include feeling thirsty, needing to urinate frequently, fatigue, irritability, and blurred vision.

Many people with diabetes begin to experience hyperglycemic symptoms when their blood sugar levels reach 250 mg/dL, but this varies from person to person.

Blood sugar levels reaching 400 mg/dL or higher may indicate a risk for the two serious conditions mentioned above.

DKA occurs more often in people with type 1 diabetes, but it can also affect people with type 2 diabetes. In addition to high blood sugar and elevated ketone bodies (chemicals produced by the liver when it breaks down fats), you may experience rapid breathing, fruity-smelling breath, nausea or vomiting, and abdominal pain. .

DKA can quickly develop into a medical emergency. Treatment includes fluid and electrolyte replacement and insulin administration.

HHS is a complication of type 2 diabetes that causes very high blood sugar levels, extreme dehydration, decreased alertness, and even loss of consciousness. Treatment focuses on correcting dehydration, replacing electrolytes, and administering intravenous insulin.

See below for more information. What is considered hyperglycemia?

low blood sugar level

For people with and without diabetes, blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day. A common goal for people with diabetes is to maintain blood sugar levels within a certain range. Range of 80 mg/dL to 180 mg/dL (or the range recommended by your medical team).

In some cases, blood sugar levels may be too low, below 70 mg/dL. This is called hypoglycemia. You may experience symptoms that warn you of low blood sugar, such as light-headedness, light-headedness, or a rapid heartbeat.

Not everyone shows symptoms when their blood sugar levels are low, so checking your blood sugar levels frequently with a glucometer or preferably using a CGM (continuous blood glucose monitoring) will help you understand when your blood sugar levels are low. Helps identify if it’s too low.

In these cases, hypoglycemia must be treated with carbohydrate sources to raise blood sugar levels to safe levels.

Blood sugar levels drop too low (usually Less than 54 mg/dL) is called severe hypoglycemia, which means you need someone else’s help to treat and recover from your low blood sugar.

Severe hypoglycemia can lead to fainting. Prolonged low blood sugar levels can cause seizures, coma, and in rare cases, death. Treatment may include glucagon given by injection or inhalation, or glucose given intravenously.

See below for more information. What is hypoglycemia?

Individualized blood sugar goals

The blood sugar targets listed in the table above are not necessarily suitable for all diabetics. In fact, the ADA strongly recommends that: Blood sugar targets are adjusted, as appropriate and based on certain factors. These include:

  • Year: Older adults with functional or cognitive impairments, or young children may require higher blood glucose targets for safety and simplicity. However, younger adults without diabetic complications may benefit from lower blood sugar targets.
  • Health status: People with limited life expectancy or certain medical conditions often have higher blood sugar targets.
  • Risk of hypoglycemia: People who are unaware of hypoglycemia (those who cannot detect early signs of hypoglycemia) or who have a history of severe hypoglycemia may set higher blood sugar targets.
  • Pregnant women with diabetes: In general, blood sugar targets are more stringent before and during pregnancy to minimize complications for mother and baby.

Talk to your health care provider about your blood sugar goals and what makes sense for you.

A1c goal

The A1c test is a blood test that measures the average amount of glucose in your blood over the past two to three months. The results of this test are measured as a percentage. Other terms for A1c are hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, and glycosylated hemoglobin.

The A1c test is often used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, but it’s also an important test to help you and your health care team manage your diabetes. The higher your A1c level, the higher your risk of developing complications.

According to the ADA, a typical A1c goal for most people with diabetes is less than 7%. For people without diabetes, the goal is less than 5.7 percent.

A1c between 5.7% and 6.4% Indicates prediabetes. A condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normalHowever, it is not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes means you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and other serious problems.

People with diabetes usually undergo an A1c test. 2-4 times a year. If he is meeting his treatment goals, checking his A1c twice a year may be enough. However, if you are not meeting your treatment goals or changing your treatment plan, you may need to have your A1c checked more frequently.

Individual A1c goals

An A1c of less than 7% may not be appropriate for everyone.of The ADA states: “For people with limited life expectancy and/or significant functional impairment or cognitive impairment, less stringent A1c targets are appropriate.”

As an example, an A1c goal of up to 8 percent may be recommended for older adults or those who experience severe or frequent hypoglycemia.

For younger people who don’t have frequent hypoglycemia, a lower A1c goal, say 6.5 percent, may be appropriate. For pregnant women with diabetes, the “ideal” A1c goal is less than 6 percent.

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all goal when it comes to A1c goals. You and your healthcare provider should work together to determine the A1c goal that is best for you.

final thoughts

If you have diabetes, it’s important to know your blood sugar levels and A1c goals. Blood sugar and A1c test results help you and your health care team know how well your diabetes is being controlled.

It’s perfectly normal for your blood sugar levels and occasional A1c to be outside of your target range, but if your blood sugar levels are consistently too high or too low, or if your A1c results are consistently high, your diabetes treatment plan may need to be adjusted. It shows that there is. is shown.

Communicate openly with your doctor and other members of your health care team. Ask about her blood sugar and A1c goals, and discuss factors that can help you reach your goals, including medications, diet, and physical activity.

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