What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels, And What Blood Sugar Level Constitutes A True Emergency?
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. On the other side, if blood sugar gets up above 180 to 200, then it exceeds the capacity of the kidneys to reabsorb the glucose and we begin to spill glucose into the urine. And if it gets way up high, up in the 400s or even 500s, it can be associated with some alteration in mental function. And in this situation, if it persists for a long time, we can actually see mental changes as well. So either too low or very exceedingly high can cause changes in mental function. Next: W Continue reading >>
What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?
The aim of diabetes treatment is to bring blood sugar (“glucose”) as close to normal as possible. What is a normal blood sugar level? And how can you achieve normal blood sugar? First, what is the difference between “sugar” and “glucose”? Sugar is the general name for sweet carbohydrates that dissolve in water. “Carbohydrate” means a food made only of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. There are various different kinds of sugars. The one our body uses most is called “glucose.” Other sugars we eat, like fructose from fruit or lactose from milk, are converted into glucose in our bodies. Then we can use them for energy. Our bodies also break down starches, which are sugars stuck together, into glucose. When people talk about “blood sugar,” they mean “blood glucose.” The two terms mean the same thing. In the U.S., blood sugar is normally measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dl). A milligram is very little, about 0.00018 of a teaspoon. A deciliter is about 3 1/3 ounces. In Canada and the United Kingdom, blood sugar is reported in millimoles/liter (mmol/L). You can convert Canadian or British glucose levels to American numbers if you multiply them by 18. This is useful to know if you’re reading comments or studies from England or Canada. If someone reports that their fasting blood glucose was 7, you can multiply that by 18 and get their U.S. glucose level of 126 mg/dl. What are normal glucose numbers? They vary throughout the day. (Click here for a blood sugar chart.) For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. “Postprandial” sugars taken two hours after meals should be less than 140 mg/dl. Those are the normal numbers for someone w Continue reading >>
Print Overview Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Without lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes are very likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, the long-term damage of diabetes — especially to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys — may already be starting. There's good news, however. Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn't inevitable. Eating healthy foods, incorporating physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring your blood sugar level back to normal. Prediabetes affects adults and children. The same lifestyle changes that can help prevent progression to diabetes in adults might also help bring children's blood sugar levels back to normal. Symptoms Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms. One possible sign that you may be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. Affected areas can include the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. Classic signs and symptoms that suggest you've moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes include: Increased thirst Frequent urination Fatigue Blurred vision When to see a doctor See your doctor if you're concerned about diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Ask your doctor about blood glucose screening if you have any risk factors for prediabetes. Causes The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown. But family history and genetics appear to play an important role. Inactivity and excess fat — especially abdominal fat — also seem to be important factors. What is clear is that people with prediabetes don't process sugar (glucose) properly anymore. As a result, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead o Continue reading >>
Q&a: How To Lower Your Blood Sugar When It’s Over 200 Mg/dl
Q: How do I lower my blood sugar when it goes over 200 mg/dl? I have Type 2 diabetes. A: An excellent question, but a complicated one to answer. Your doctor or nurse educator should be contacted any time your blood sugar runs consistently higher than 250 mg/dl for more than two days. When a person with Type 2 diabetes encounters a high blood sugar, the strategy used in bringing it down will vary from individual to individual. This is because of the differences in treatment concerning diet, exercise, and medication. It will also depend upon the guidelines for glucose control that you and your doctor have mutually agreed upon. When high blood sugars do occur, there are a number of strategies that can be employed to adjust the glucose level back down to a normal range. These might include: 1) Eating less food at the next meal, eliminating a snack and/or eating foods with a lower glycemic index. A general rule of thumb to follow is decreasing 15 grams of carbohydrate (the amount found in one starch exchange, one fruit exchange, or one cup skim milk exchange) will lower blood glucose by 30 mg/dl. If you test your blood sugar at 182 mg/dl before a meal or snack, then eliminate one starch and one cup milk at the next meal to bring the glucose value as close to 120 mg/dl as a baseline. Although people with diabetes will respond differently to this adjustment, it provides a basic guideline to start with. For persons with Type 2 diabetes who are overweight, the loss of only 5% to 10% of total weight loss can dramatically improve blood glucose values (so just cutting calories moderately can achieve better blood glucose control). Lastly, choosing foods with a lower glycemic index, i.e., foods that do not raise blood sugar as quickly or dramatically, can help to bring blood glucose Continue reading >>
My Blood Sugar Is 109 Is It Ok?
The blood sugar concentration or blood glucose level is the amount of glucose (sugar) present in the blood of a human or an animal. The body naturally tightly regulates blood glucose levels (with the help of insulin that is secreted by pancreas) as a part of metabolic homeostasis. If blood sugar levels are either increased or decreased by a greater margin than expected this might indicate a medical condition. What Is Blood Sugar? What does it mean when someone refers to blood sugar level in your body? Blood sugar level (or blood sugar concentration) is the amount of glucose (a source of energy) present in your blood at any given time. A normal blood glucose level for a healthy person is somewhere between 72 mg/dL (3.8 to 4 mmol/L) and 108 mg/dL (5.8 to 6 mmol/L). It, of course, depends on every individual alone. Typically blood sugar level in humans is around 72 mg/dL (or 4 mmol/L). After a meal the blood sugar level may increase temporarily up to 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L). This is normal. A blood sugar level between 72 mg/dL (4 mmol/L) and 108 mg/dL (6 mmol/L) is considered normal for a healthy adult. What Is Normal Blood Sugar Level? Adults A normal blood sugar level is between 72 mg/dL and 108 mg/dL (4 to 6 mmol/L) for a healthy person. The concentration of glucose in the blood of a healthy person in the morning on an empty stomach is between 68 mg/dL and 108 mg/dL (3.8 and 6.0 mmol/L). Two hours after consuming foods or drinks rich in carbohydrates, the values are usually between 120 and 140 mg/dL (6.7 and 7.8 mmol/L). Children For children up to 6 years of age desired blood sugar level before eating is between 100 mg/dL (5.5 mmol/L) and 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L). Before sleep values should be between 110 mg/dL (6.1 mmol/L) and 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L). For children between Continue reading >>
When “normal” Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (part 2)
In the last article I explained the three primary markers we use to track blood sugar: fasting blood glucose (FBG), oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and hemoglobin A1c (A1c). We also looked at what the medical establishment considers as normal for these markers. The table below summarizes those values. In this article, we’re going to look at just how “normal” those normal levels are — according to the scientific literature. We’ll also consider which of these three markers is most important in preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Marker Normal Pre-diabetes Diabetes Fasting blood glucose (mg/dL) <99 100-125 >126 OGGT / post-meal (mg/dL after 2 hours) <140 140-199 >200 Hemoglobin A1c (%) <6 6-6.4 >6.4 But before we do that, I’d like to make an important point: context is everything. In my work with patients, I never use any single marker alone to determine whether someone has a blood sugar issue. I run a full blood panel that includes fasting glucose, A1c, fructosamine, uric acid and triglycerides (along with other lipids), and I also have them do post-meal testing at home over a period of 3 days with a range of foods. If they have a few post-meal spikes and all other markers or normal, I’m not concerned. If their fasting BG, A1c and fructosamine are all elevated, and they’re having spikes, then I’m concerned and I will investigate further. On a similar note, I’ve written that A1c is not a reliable marker for individuals because of context: there are many non-blood sugar-related conditions that can make A1c appear high or low. So if someone is normal on all of the other blood sugar markers, but has high A1c, I’m usually not concerned. With all of that said, let’s take a look at some of the research. Fasting blood sugar According to cont Continue reading >>
When Your “normal” Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (part 1)
In the next two articles we’re going to discuss the concept of “normal” blood sugar. I say concept and put normal in quotation marks because what passes for normal in mainstream medicine turns out to be anything but normal if optimal health and function are what you’re interested in. Here’s the thing. We’ve confused normal with common. Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it’s normal. It’s now becoming common for kids to be overweight and diabetic because they eat nothing but refined flour, high-fructose corn syrup and industrial seed oils. Yet I don’t think anyone (even the ADA) would argue that being fat and metabolically deranged is even remotely close to normal for kids. Or adults, for that matter. In the same way, the guidelines the so-called authorities like the ADA have set for normal blood ￼sugar may be common, but they’re certainly not normal. Unless you think it’s normal for people to develop diabetic complications like neuropathy, retinopathy and cardiovascular disease as they age, and spend the last several years of their lives in hospitals or assisted living facilities. Common, but not normal. In this article I’m going to introduce the three markers we use to measure blood sugar, and tell you what the conventional model thinks is normal for those markers. In the next article, I’m going to show you what the research says is normal for healthy people. And I’m also going to show you that so-called normal blood sugar, as dictated by the ADA, can double your risk of heart disease and lead to all kinds of complications down the road. The 3 ways blood sugar is measured Fasting blood glucose This is still the most common marker used in clinical settings, and is often the only one that gets tested. The fasting blood glucose Continue reading >>
What Is Prediabetes? Prediabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of diabetes—you can think of it as a warning sign. It’s when your blood glucose level (blood sugar level) is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes is an indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes if you don’t make some lifestyle changes. But here's the good news: . Eating healthy food, losing weight and staying at a healthy weight, and being physically active can help you bring your blood glucose level back into the normal range. Diabetes develops very gradually, so when you’re in the prediabetes stage—when your blood glucose level is higher than it should be—you may not have any symptoms at all. You may, however, notice that: you’re hungrier than normal you’re losing weight, despite eating more you’re thirstier than normal you have to go to the bathroom more frequently you’re more tired than usual All of those are typical symptoms associated with diabetes, so if you’re in the early stages of diabetes, you may notice them. Prediabetes develops when your body begins to have trouble using the hormone insulin. Insulin is necessary to transport glucose—what your body uses for energy—into the cells via the bloodstream. In pre-diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use it well (that’s called insulin resistance). If you don’t have enough insulin or if you’re insulin resistant, you can build up too much glucose in your blood, leading to a higher-than-normal blood glucose level and perhaps prediabetes. Researchers aren’t sure what exactly causes the insulin process to go awry in some people. There are several risk factors, though, that make it more likely that you’ll develop pre-diabetes. These are Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Exercise: When To Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Exercise is an important part of any diabetes treatment plan. To avoid potential problems, check your blood sugar before, during and after exercise. Diabetes and exercise go hand in hand, at least when it comes to managing your diabetes. Exercise can help you improve your blood sugar control, boost your overall fitness, and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. But diabetes and exercise pose unique challenges, too. To exercise safely, it's crucial to track your blood sugar before, during and after physical activity. You'll learn how your body responds to exercise, which can help you prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations. Before exercise: Check your blood sugar before your workout Before jumping into a fitness program, get your doctor's OK to exercise — especially if you've been inactive. Talk to your doctor about any activities you're contemplating, the best time to exercise and the potential impact of medications on your blood sugar as you become more active. For the best health benefits, experts recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense physical activities such as: Fast walking Lap swimming Bicycling If you're taking insulin or medications that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), test your blood sugar 30 minutes before exercising. Consider these general guidelines relative to your blood sugar level — measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Lower than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). Your blood sugar may be too low to exercise safely. Eat a small snack containing 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, such as fruit juice, fruit, crackers or even glucose tablets before you begin your workout. 100 to 250 mg/dL (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). You're good to go. For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise Continue reading >>
What Is Pre-diabetes?
What Should I Do If I Have It? Are you one of the estimated 54 million people in this country who have pre-diabetes? If you have pre-diabetes, you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also are at increased risk of developing heart disease. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within a decade unless they adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes weight loss and more physical activity. First, let's define what "pre-diabetes" is and is not. Diabetes is defined as having a fasting plasma blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or greater on two separate occasions. If diabetes symptoms exist and you have a casual blood glucose taken at any time that is equal to or greater than 200 mg/dl, and a second test shows the same high blood glucose level, then you have diabetes. In general, people who have a fasting plasma blood glucose in the 100-125 mg/dl range are defined as having impaired fasting glucose. If your doctor gives you an oral glucose tolerance test, and at two-hours your blood glucose is 140-199 mg/dl, you have "impaired glucose tolerance". Either of these is medical terminology for what your doctor is probably referring to when he says you have "pre-diabetes." Be sure to ask your doctor what your exact blood sugar test results are when he tells you that you have "pre-diabetes." Some physicians are not as familiar as they should be with the new national guidelines for diagnosing diabetes. They may be telling you that you have pre-diabetes, when in fact you have actual diabetes. Among those who should be screened for pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older and those u Continue reading >>
How To Tell When Normal Blood Sugar Isn’t
Most people don’t worry about diabetes until a doctor tells them their blood sugar is too high. But even if you get a “normal” blood sugar reading at your next exam, you might not be totally in the clear. According to cutting-edge research, blood sugar levels on the high end of the normal range may still raise your risk of illness, leading some doctors to take such results more seriously — particularly if patients have other diabetes risk factors, such as obesity or family history. The somewhat arbitrary cutoff between normal blood sugar levels and higher ones associated with diabetes may give a false sense of security to millions of people, notes brain researcher Nicolas Cherbuin of Australian National University. His research published in 2013 found that middle-aged people with high-normal fasting blood sugar readings had worse scores on memory tests and more shrinkage in a brain region important to memory than those with lower blood sugar. Higher glucose levels may damage blood vessels and hinder the flow of nutrients to the brain. THE NUMBERS YOU AND YOUR DOC SHOULD KNOW • DIABETES: Blood sugar level of 126 mg/dl or higher • PREDIABETES: Blood sugar level between 100 and 125 mg/dl • HIGH-NORMAL BLOOD SUGAR: Roughly 90 to 99 mg/dl (a new category being studied for health risks) • NORMAL BLOOD SUGAR: Currently defined as 70 to 99 mg/dl * All levels are based on a fasting blood glucose test, which involves an overnight fast. Other research suggests high-normal blood sugar may increase your heart disease risk by raising inflammation and making blood vessels stiffer. A 2012 Israeli study found that people with a fasting blood sugar between 90 and 99 mg/dl were 40 percent more likely to suffer heart disease than those with a level under 80 mg/dl. Cancer is Continue reading >>
Diabetes: What You Need To Know As You Age
Overview Diabetes is a problem that has many consequences: If you have the disease, your body can no longer keep its blood sugar at a healthy level. But over time, the effects of diabetes can become much more complicated. The disease can lead to serious, even life-threatening problems from your head to your toes. Too much blood sugar (also called glucose) can damage the blood vessels and nerves that run throughout your body. This can set the stage for many other medical conditions: stroke heart disease kidney disease vision problems and blindness damage to the feet or legs However, there is good news for the 26 million Americans with diabetes—and those at risk. Experts are learning more all the time about lifestyle steps for diabetes control and prevention. New medications and devices can also help you keep control over your blood sugar and prevent complications, says Johns Hopkins expert Rita Kalyani, M.D. Definitions A1C Test: A blood test used to diagnose and monitor diabetes. By measuring how much glucose (also called blood sugar) is attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells, this test gives you and your health-care provider a picture of your average blood glucose levels over three months. A normal result is below 5.7 percent. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should have this test done twice a year to check if your blood glucose is under control. Blood glucose: Also referred to as blood sugar, the primary energy source for the cells in your body. Blood glucose levels rise after meals and fall the longer you’ve gone without eating. Your blood glucose level is a measure of how much glucose you have in your bloodstream. A normal fasting blood glucose level is between 70 and 100 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter of blood). Insulin (in-suh-lin): A Continue reading >>
A condition in which blood glucose levels are elevated, but not yet within the diabetic range. Prediabetes is also known as impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). The new term was inaugurated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in March 2002 to promote public understanding of this increasingly widespread problem. According to HHS, nearly 57 million Americans have prediabetes. Studies have shown that most people with blood glucose levels in the prediabetes range go on to develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years; the condition also raises the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by 50%. Prediabetes can be controlled, and in many cases even reversed, through lifestyle changes. Prediabetes can be detected by either of the two standard tests currently used to diagnose diabetes. In the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG), a person fasts overnight and then has blood drawn for testing first thing in the morning, before he eats. Until recently, a normal fasting blood glucose level under 110 mg/dl was considered to be normal and fasting blood glucose in the range of 110 to 125 mg/dl indicated impaired fasting glucose (IFG), or prediabetes. In late 2003, an international expert panel recommended that the cutoff be lowered to 100 mg/dl, so now people with a fasting blood glucose level of 100 to 125 mg/dl are considered to have prediabetes. A fasting blood glucose level over 125 mg/dl indicates diabetes. (A second test must be done on a subsequent day to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes.) In the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), a person’s blood glucose is tested once after an overnight fast and again two hours after he has consumed a special, glucose-rich drink. A normal blood glucose Continue reading >>
How To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar
If you are one of the millions of people who has prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome or any other form of “insulin resistance,” maintaining normal blood sugar levels can be challenging. Over the past several decades, these chronic disorders have swept through the U.S. and many other nations, reaching epidemic proportions and causing serious, but often preventable, side effects like nerve damage, fatigue, loss of vision, arterial damage and weight gain. Elevated blood sugar levels maintained for an extended period of time can push someone who is “prediabetic” into having full-blown diabetes (which now affects about one in every three adults in the U.S.). (1) Even for people who aren’t necessarily at a high risk for developing diabetes or heart complications, poorly managed blood sugar can lead to common complications, including fatigue, weight gain and sugar cravings. In extreme cases, elevated blood sugar can even contribute to strokes, amputations, coma and death in people with a history of insulin resistance. Blood sugar is raised by glucose, which is the sugar we get from eating many different types of foods that contain carbohydrates. Although we usually think of normal blood sugar as being strictly reliant upon how many carbohydrates and added sugar someone eats, other factors also play a role. For example, stress can elevate cortisol levels, which interferes with how insulin is used, and the timing of meals can also affect how the body manages blood sugar. (2) What can you do to help avoid dangerous blood sugar swings and lower diabetes symptoms? As you’ll learn, normal blood sugar levels are sustained through a combination of eating a balanced, low-processed diet, getting regular exercise and managing the body’s most important hormones in othe Continue reading >>
The “normal Blood Sugar Range” May Be Misleading You
A fasting blood sugar test measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood after you have not eaten for at least eight hours. Checking for an ideal fasting blood sugar is one of the most commonly performed tests to check for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. So what should your fasting blood sugar be? The normal blood sugar range is 65-99 mg/dL. If your fasting blood sugar is between 100 and 125 mg/dL, you have “impaired fasting glucose,” also referred to as “prediabetes.” If your fasting blood sugar is more than 126 mg/dL on two or more occasions, you have full-blown diabetes. What Is Prediabetes? People defined as having impaired fasting glucose/prediabetes are individuals whose blood sugar levels do not meet criteria for diabetes, yet are higher than those considered normal. These people are at relatively high risk for the future development of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), prediabetes is not a disease itself but rather a risk factor “for diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease.” However, the ADA also state that prediabetes can be considered an “intermediate stage” in the diabetes disease process.(One might wonder how prediabetes can be a both a risk factor for diabetes and an intermediate stage of the diabetes disease process simultaneously). In addition to increasing the chance of developing diabetes, it’s well-established that people with impaired fasting glucose/prediabetes are more likely to be overweight or obese, especially with what’s known as abdominal or visceral obesity. They also are more likely to have high triglycerides and/or low HDL cholesterol, and hypertension. Even Normal-Range Blood Glucose Levels Can Increase Diabetes Risk There’s a lot more at stake for thos Continue reading >>