Diabetes By The Numbers
When you have type 2 diabetes, you’ve got to know your numbers. It’s not just about blood sugar. To successfully manage diabetes, there are several measurements that you should take, or have taken, on a regular basis. Keeping track of the following numbers can help you live well with type 2 diabetes and lower your risk of complications. Blood sugar levels. This is probably the type 2 diabetes measure you’re most familiar with. Testing your blood sugar regularly allows you to see how certain foods, exercise, and other activities affect your blood sugar levels on a day-to-day basis. Many people with type 2 diabetes need to test once or twice a day to make sure blood sugar levels are in target range. If your blood sugar is very well controlled, you may only need to check a few times a week, according to the National Institutes of Health. The American Diabetes Association recommends aiming for a blood sugar level between 70 to 130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl one to two hours after a meal. To keep your blood sugar within this range, follow a healthy, well-rounded diet and eat meals and snacks on a consistent schedule. If your blood sugar is not well controlled, talk to your doctor about adjusting your diabetes management plan. A1C level. This is a blood test, typically given at doctor's appointments, that measures your average blood sugar levels over a longer period. “It gives you a picture of what’s been going on over the past two to three months,” says Dawn Sherr, RD, a certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Essentially, your A1C result shows how well your diabetes treatment plan is working. Depending on your results, you may need to have the test from two to four times a year. For most pe Continue reading >>
Hyperglycemia: When Your Blood Glucose Level Goes Too High
Hyperglycemia means high (hyper) glucose (gly) in the blood (emia). Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes—when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn't properly using or doesn't make the hormone insulin. You get glucose from the foods you eat. Carbohydrates, such as fruit, milk, potatoes, bread, and rice, are the biggest source of glucose in a typical diet. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, and then transports the glucose to the cells via the bloodstream. Body Needs Insulin However, in order to use the glucose, your body needs insulin. This is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose into the cells, particularly the muscle cells. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make insulin to help their bodies use glucose, so they have to take insulin, which is injected under the skin. People with type 2 diabetes may have enough insulin, but their body doesn't use it well; they're insulin resistant. Some people with type 2 diabetes may not produce enough insulin. People with diabetes may become hyperglycemic if they don't keep their blood glucose level under control (by using insulin, medications, and appropriate meal planning). For example, if someone with type 1 diabetes doesn't take enough insulin before eating, the glucose their body makes from that food can build up in their blood and lead to hyperglycemia. Your endocrinologist will tell you what your target blood glucose levels are. Your levels may be different from what is usually considered as normal because of age, pregnancy, and/or other factors. Fasting hyperglycemia is defined as when you don't eat for at least eight hours. Recommended range without diabet Continue reading >>
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Blood Sugar Level Ranges
Tweet Understanding blood glucose level ranges can be a key part of diabetes self-management. This page states 'normal' blood sugar ranges and blood sugar ranges for adults and children with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and blood sugar ranges to determine people with diabetes. If a person with diabetes has a meter, test strips and is testing, it's important to know what the blood glucose level means. Recommended blood glucose levels have a degree of interpretation for every individual and you should discuss this with your healthcare team. In addition, women may be set target blood sugar levels during pregnancy. The following ranges are guidelines provided by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) but each individual’s target range should be agreed by their doctor or diabetic consultant. 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 Federation's 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. NICE recommended target blood glucose level ranges Target Levels by Type Upon waking Before meals (pre prandial) At least 90 minutes after meals (post prandial) Non-diabetic* 4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L under 7.8 mmol/L Type 2 diabetes 4 to 7 mmol/L under 8.5 mmol/L Type 1 diabetes 5 to 7 mmol/L 4 to 7 mmol/L 5 to 9 mmol/L Children w/ type 1 diabetes 4 to 7 mmol/L 4 to 7 mmol/L 5 to 9 mmol/L *The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines. Normal and diabetic blood sugar ranges For the majority of healthy ind Continue reading >>
What Are Blood Sugar Target Ranges? What Is Normal Blood Sugar Level?
Understanding blood sugar target ranges to better manage your diabetes As a person with diabetes, you may or may not know what your target ranges should be for your blood sugars first thing in the morning, before meals, after meals, or at bedtime. You may or may not understand what blood sugar ranges are for people without diabetes. You may or may not understand how your A1C correlates with your target ranges. How do you get a clear picture of what is going on with your blood sugar, and how it could be affecting your health? In this article, we will look at what recommended blood sugar target ranges are for people without diabetes. We will look at target ranges for different times of the day for people with diabetes. We will look at target ranges for Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes. Is there a difference? We will also look at what blood sugars should be during pregnancy for those with gestational diabetes. We will look at other factors when determining blood sugar targets, such as: Age Other health conditions How long you’ve had diabetes for Stress Illness Lifestyle habits and activity levels We will see how these factors impact target ranges for your blood sugars when you have diabetes. We will learn that target ranges can be individualized based on the factors above. We will learn how target ranges help to predict the A1C levels. We will see how if you are in your target range, you can be pretty sure that your A1C will also be in target. We will see how you can document your blood sugar patterns in a notebook or in an “app,” and manage your blood sugars to get them in your target ranges. First, let’s look at the units by which blood sugars are measured… How is blood sugar measured? In the United States, blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter (by w Continue reading >>
All About The Hemoglobin A1c Test
People with diabetes used to depend only on urine tests or daily finger sticks to measure their blood sugars. These tests are accurate, but only in the moment. As an overall measurement of blood sugar control, they’re very limited. This is because blood sugar can vary wildly depending on the time of day, activity levels, and even hormone changes. Some people may have high blood sugars at 3 a.m. and be totally unaware of it. Once A1C tests became available in the 1980s, they became an important tool in controlling diabetes. A1C tests measure average blood glucose over the past two to three months. So even if you have a high fasting blood sugar, your overall blood sugars may be normal, or vice versa. A normal fasting blood sugar may not eliminate the possibility of type 2 diabetes. This is why A1C tests are now being used for diagnosis and screening of prediabetes. Because it doesn’t require fasting, the test can be given as part of an overall blood screening. The A1C test is also known as the hemoglobin A1C test or HbA1C test. Other alternate names include the glycosylated hemoglobin test, glycohemoglobin test, and glycated hemoglobin test. A1C measures the amount of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it. Hemoglobin is a protein found inside red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body. Hemoglobin cells are constantly dying and regenerating, but they have a lifespan of approximately three months. Glucose attaches, or glycates, to hemoglobin, so the record of how much glucose is attached to your hemoglobin also lasts for about three months. If there’s too much glucose attached to the hemoglobin cells, you’ll have a high A1C. If the amount of glucose is normal, your A1C will be normal. The test is effective because of the lifespan of the hemogl Continue reading >>
Blood Sugar Levels For Adults With Diabetes
Each time you test your blood sugar, log it in a notebook or online tool or with an app. Note the date, time, results, and any recent activities: What medication and dosage you took What you ate How much and what kind of exercise you were doing That will help you and your doctor see how your treatment is working. Well-managed diabetes can delay or prevent complications that affect your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes doubles your risk for heart disease and stroke, too. Fortunately, controlling your blood sugar will also make these problems less likely. Tight blood sugar control, however, means a greater chance of low blood sugar levels, so your doctor may suggest higher targets. 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 Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly and are often the reason for checking blood sugar levels. Because symptoms of other types of diabetes and prediabetes come on more gradually or may not be evident, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended screening guidelines. The ADA recommends that the following people be screened for diabetes: Anyone with a body mass index higher than 25, regardless of age, who has additional risk factors, such as high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, having delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds, a history of diabetes in pregnancy, high cholesterol levels, a history of heart disease, and having a close relative with diabetes. Anyone older than age 45 is advised to receive an initial blood sugar screening, and then, if the results are normal, to be screened every three years thereafter. Tests for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you'll have with sugar attached. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal. If the A1C test results aren't consistent, the test isn't available, or if you have certain conditions that can make the A1C test inaccurate — such as if you're pregnant or have an uncommon form of hemoglobin (known as a hemoglobin variant) — your doctor may use the following tests to diagnose diabetes: Random blood sugar Continue reading >>
Time-in-range: What’s An Achievable Goal With Diabetes?
My approach to time-in-range goals, five key tips to spend more time-in-range each day, and what’s still to come from experts… Q: “What do you think is an attainable percent time in range? My son’s doctor is happy about his A1c around 7.1%, and I think that can lead to being complacent or thinking he is good enough. What is a good goal for percent time in range on a daily basis?” – Madeline G. Madeline – thank you for this important question! We love that you are thinking Beyond A1c. This is a big topic, so it is tackled in parts below. How do we define “time-in-range”? The diabetes research community has reached consensus that 70 mg/dl (low) and 180 mg/dl (high) are the lower and upper thresholds for measuring “time-in-range” when using CGM in studies – i.e., glucose readings between 70-180 mg/dl (3.9-10 mmol/l) are considered “in range,” while hypoglycemia is less than 70 mg/dl and hyperglycemia is above 180 mg/dl. As with anything in diabetes, however, this can be individualized. Personally, I try to aim for a tighter range of 70-140 mg/dl, in part because I have access to CGM and feel like “my best self” in this range (energy, mood, productivity, etc.). People without diabetes also typically spend most of their day in this zone, so it’s something I strive for – of course, I almost never spend 100% of any day in it. I mention this definition upfront because the person – and the circumstances surrounding that person – defines the goal. Staying in a tighter range requires more vigilance and tools, and an achievable time-in-range for a two-year old is almost certainly different from a pregnant woman or an 86 year-old with impaired hypoglycemia awareness and no access to CGM. How do I think about my own time-in-range? Do I have a s Continue reading >>
Must Read Articles Related To High Blood Sugar (hyperglycemia)
A A A High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia) Whenever the glucose (sugar) level in one's blood rises high temporarily, this condition is known as hyperglycemia. The opposite condition, low blood sugar, is called hypoglycemia. Glucose comes from most foods, and the body uses other chemicals to create glucose in the liver and muscles. The blood carries glucose (blood sugar) to all the cells in the body. To carry glucose into the cells as an energy supply, cells need help from insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, an organ near the stomach. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood, based upon the blood sugar level. Insulin helps move glucose from digested food into cells. Sometimes, the body stops making insulin (as in type 1 diabetes), or the insulin does not work properly (as in type 2 diabetes). In diabetic patients, glucose does not enter the cells sufficiently, thus staying in the blood and creating high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels can be measured in seconds by using a blood glucose meter, also known as a glucometer. A tiny drop of blood from the finger or forearm is placed on a test strip and inserted into the glucometer. The blood sugar (or glucose) level is displayed digitally within seconds. Blood glucose levels vary widely throughout the day and night in people with diabetes. Ideally, blood glucose levels range from 90 to 130 mg/dL before meals, and below 180 mg/dL within 1 to 2 hours after a meal. Adolescents and adults with diabetes strive to keep their blood sugar levels within a controlled range, usually 80-150 mg/dL before meals. Doctors and diabetes health educators guide each patient to determine their optimal range of blood glucose control. When blood sugar levels remain high for several hours, dehydration and more serious complicat Continue reading >>
What Are The Ideal Levels Of Blood Sugar?
A blood sugar or blood glucose chart identifies ideal blood sugar levels throughout the day, including before and after meals. Doctors use blood sugar charts to set target goals and monitor diabetes treatment plans. Blood sugar charts also help those with diabetes assess and self-monitor blood sugar test results. What is a blood sugar chart? Blood sugar charts act as a reference guide for blood sugar test results. As such, blood sugar charts are important tools for diabetes management. Most diabetes treatment plans involve keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal or target goals as possible. This requires frequent at-home and doctor-ordered testing, along with an understanding of how results compare to target levels. To help interpret and assess blood sugar results, the charts outline normal and abnormal blood sugar levels for those with and without diabetes. In the United States, blood sugar charts typically report sugar levels in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). In the United Kingdom and many other countries, blood sugar is reported in millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A1C blood sugar recommendations are frequently included in blood sugar charts. A1C results are often described as both a percentage and an average blood sugar level in mg/dL. An A1C test measures the average sugar levels over a 3-month period, which gives a wider insight into a person's overall management of their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar chart guidelines Appropriate blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and from person to person. Blood sugars are often lowest before breakfast and in the lead up to meals. Blood sugars are often highest in the hours following meals. People with diabetes will often have higher blood sugar targets or acceptable ranges than those without the condition. These Continue reading >>
Is My Blood Sugar Normal?
“Is my blood sugar normal?” seems like a simple question – but it’s not! The answer can vary dramatically based on your situation. Let’s look at some of the factors to consider. Please remember: you should figure out your personal goals in consultation with your doctor. Normal Blood Sugar in Diabetic vs. Non-Diabetic First, a quick note on how we measure blood sugar. In the USA, blood sugars are measured by weight in milligrams per deciliter, abbreviated as mg/dL. Most everyone else uses millimole per liter, abbreviated mmol. If you are in the USA, look at the big numbers, most everyone else look at the small numbers. In a person without diabetes, blood sugars tend to stay between 70 and 100 mg/dL (3.8 and 5.5 mmol). After a meal, blood sugars can rise up to 120 mg/dL or 6.7 mmol. It will typically fall back into the normal range within two hours. In a person with diabetes, the story is much more complex: Below 70 mg/dL Below 3.8 mmol Low Blood Sugars (Hypoglycemia). When blood sugars drop below this level, you may start feeling hunger, shakiness, or racing of the heart. Your body is starved for sugar (glucose). Read how to detect and treat low blood sugars. 70 mg/dL to 140 mg/dL 3.8 mmol to 7.7 mmol Normal Blood Sugar. In this range, the body is functioning normally. In someone without diabetes, the vast majority of the time is spent in the lower half of this range. 140 mg/dL to 180 mg/dL 7.7 mmol to 10 mmol Elevated Blood Sugars. In this range, the body can function relatively normally. However, extended periods of time in this zone put you at risk for long-term complications. Above 180 mg/dL Abovoe 10 mmol High Blood Sugars. At this range, the kidney is unable to reabsorb all of the glucose in your blood and you begin to spill glucose in your urine. Your bo Continue reading >>
Goals For Blood Glucose Control
Discuss blood glucose (sugar) targets with your healthcare team when creating your diabetes management plan. People who have diabetes should be testing their blood glucose regularly at home. Regular blood glucose testing helps you determine how well your diabetes management program of meal planning, exercising and medication (if necessary) is doing to keep your blood glucose as close to normal as possible. The results of the nationwide Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) show that the closer you keep your blood glucose to normal, the more likely you are to prevent diabetes complications such as eye disease, nerve damage, and other problems. For some people, other medical conditions, age, or other issues may cause your physician to establish somewhat higher blood glucose targets for you. The following chart outlines the usual blood glucose ranges for a person who does and does not have diabetes. Use this as a guide to work with your physician and your healthcare team to determine what your target goals should be, and to develop a program of regular blood glucose monitoring to manage your condition. Time of Check Goal plasma blood glucose ranges for people without diabetes Goal plasma blood glucose ranges for people with diabetes Before breakfast (fasting) < 100 70 - 130 Before lunch, supper and snack < 110 70 - 130 Two hours after meals < 140 < 180 Bedtime < 120 90- 150 A1C (also called glycosylated hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c or glycohemoglobin A1c) < 6% < 7% < = less than > = greater than > = greater than or equal to < = less than or equal to Information obtained from Joslin Diabetes Center's Guidelines for Pharmacological Management of Type 2 Diabetes. Continue reading >>
Is There A 'safe' Blood Sugar Level?
What is the "safe" blood sugar level? I have heard several opinions from other diabetics, and I am very confused. I was told that it was 154 about a year ago, and my doctor didn't recommend daily monitoring. At one time on a morning fasting, my level was 74. — Theresa, Alabama Yes, there is a safe blood sugar level. It is the optimum range that safely provides the body with adequate amounts of energy. For the average person, it is 70 to 105 mg/dl in a fasting state. (Diabetes is diagnosed when the fasting blood glucose level is at or above 126 mg/dl.) Glucose values vary depending on the time of day, your activity level, and your diet. Your sugar level of 154 mg/dl, which is high, may not have been determined while you were fasting. If it had been, a physician would have repeated the test. Your doctor did, and your level was determined to be normal at 74 mg/dl. In this case, daily monitoring is probably not necessary. If your levels are elevated in the future, you will be diagnosed with diabetes. Treatment can include lifestyle modification, diet, and exercise. If these strategies are not adequate to control your blood glucose level, your physician may prescribe oral medicines or insulin. Having a laboratory examination during your yearly physical and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are adequate for now. Why is it important to keep your glucose level within a normal range? An excess of glucose in the bloodstream causes various chemical changes that lead to damage to our blood vessels, nerves, and cells. Each cell in the body has a function that requires energy, and this energy comes primarily from glucose. The energy allows you to perform various tasks, including talking and walking. It allows your heart to beat and your brain to produce chemicals and signals that hel Continue reading >>
What Is Hba1c And A Normal Hba1c Range? Explained In Plain English
Those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes may have seen it before, but what is a normal HbA1c range? This article explores what your HbA1c reading should be and how you can improve it. What is HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1c)? HbA1c is a marker that can determine your average blood sugar (glucose) levels over the previous 3-months (1). That means it can be used to assess the quality of your diabetes management, as well as to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. Sometimes HbA1c is also called glycated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c or just A1c. The ‘Hb’ refers to hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body. ‘A1c’ refers to a minor part of hemoglobin that sugar molecules attach to. The amount of sugar attached is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in your blood at a given time, so this reading is used to accurately reflect average blood sugar levels. If you’ve had high blood sugar levels in the past month or so, your HbA1c levels will be higher too. Summary: HbA1c is a marker that reflects your average blood sugar levels in the previous 3 months. It’s also called glycated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c or just A1c. Normal HbA1c Range The HbA1c test is measured as either a percentage or in mmol/mol. Below I’ve listed what is considered a normal HbA1c range, and what values would be considered outside of normal (pre-diabetic or diabetic): HbA1c range for normal (non-diabetic) adults: Below 6.0%, or below 42 mmol/mol HbA1c range for pre-diabetes: 6.0% to 6.4%, or 42 to 47 mmol/mol HbA1c range for diabetes: 6.5% or above, or 48 mmol/mol or above. Target ranges are also shown below in this table: HbA1c % mmol/mol Normal Below 6.0% Below 42 mmol/mol Pre-diabetes 6.0% to 6.4% 42 to 47 mmol/mol Diabetes 6.5% or above 48 mmol/mol or above Normal Hb Continue reading >>