What Is a Normal Blood Sugar Level? - Diabetes India

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What Is a Normal Blood Sugar Level?


What Is a Normal Blood Sugar Level?

I, as a volunteer of this forum , have seen many bloggers ask this question again and again specially who join the forum new.This article may help to keep it as reference and ready information.

Updated March 27, 2018

Published January 13, 2016 by David Spero, BSN, RN

David Spero has been a nurse for 40 years and has lived with multiple sclerosis for 30 years. He is the author of four books: The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness (Hunter House 2002), Diabetes: Sugar-coated Crisis — Who Gets It, Who Profits, and How to Stop It (New Society 2006, Diabetes Heroes (Jim Healthy 2014), and The Inn by the Healing Path: Stories on the road to wellness (Smashwords 2015.) He writes for Diabetes Self-Management and Pain-Free Living (formerly Arthritis Self-Management) magazines. .

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 sugar. 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 Great Britain 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 without diabetes. If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises keeping your blood sugar levels before meals from 80–130 mg/dl and your levels 1–2 hours after meals under 180. Many people with diabetes and doctors shoot for levels closer to those of people without diabetes, because they are more protective against complications. Lower numbers require more careful diet and more frequent monitoring to prevent lows, but they are doable for many people.

There is also a long-term glucose test called a hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or just A1C. This test measures your average glucose control over the last 2–3 months. HbA1c is expressed as a percentage. Normal for a person without diabetes is below 5.7%. Targets for a person with diabetes recommended by the ADA are lower than 7.0 percent, although many people achieve lower numbers, and older, less healthy people may be given higher targets to shoot for to avoid lows. (Some doctors set goals as low as 6.0 percent or as high as 8.0 percent.)

When glucose levels get higher than normal, they start to cause inflammation in blood vessels and nerves. This is where all the complications of diabetes come from. So you don’t want high blood glucose levels.

In people without diabetes, normal insulin function keeps sugars in a normal range. When you have diabetes, insulin function is damaged. You need to give your body conscious help, by eating right, exercising, taking medications or herbs, and reducing stress.

Low blood sugars are also a potential problem. If you take insulin or a sulfonylurea or meglitinide drug, there is a risk of your blood sugar going too low. Low blood sugar (“hypoglycemia,” pronounced high-po-gleye-SEEM-e-uh) can cause dizziness, confusion, or fainting. >>

Normal blood glucose numbers


Normal for person without diabetes: 70–99 mg/dl (3.9–5.5 mmol/L)

Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: 80–130 mg/dl (4.4–7.2 mmol/L)

2 hours after meals

Normal for person without diabetes: Less than 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L)

Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: Less than 180 mg/dl (10.0 mmol/L)


Normal for person without diabetes: Less than 5.7%

Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: Less than 7.0%

Testing your blood sugar

You can learn what your blood glucose is at a given moment with a fingerstick blood test, using any available glucose meter. It may hurt a little, and the test strips cost money, but you can get good information. You can reduce the pain and the hassle of needle sticks and get more information with a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM. CGMs measure from a sensor inserted under the skin, often on the abdomen.

For people taking rapid-acting or intermediate-acting insulin, blood sugar testing should be frequent. You want to take the right amount and not have your blood sugar go too low.

For people with Type 2 diabetes who are not on insulin, how much to test is up to you and your health-care provider. If you’re trying for tight control, you can test after eating different foods and doing different activities to see how they affect your glucose. Keep careful records of your results and perhaps log what you were eating and doing before your test.

It doesn’t help much to test at the same time every day, usually on waking and before dinner. Test with a plan; when you change something like a new medicine dose or a supplement, then test in the days afterward. Many monitors keep your result records for you or send them to your computer or your doctor.


13 Replies

This is a fantastic article! Thank you for posting it for everyone to read. Very helpful information.😀👍

in reply to Activity2004

Thanks dear administrator.i am encouraged

in reply to rvmasalvad

You’re welcome!😀

Aam see baat hay(every body knows it)

It's very common .

in reply to shahzam

True.But many still ask this again and again.


"The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises keeping your blood sugar levels before meals from 80–130 mg/dl and your levels 1–2 hours after meals under 180."

"Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: Less than 7.0%".

I simply don't agree. My views are:

Recommended for diabetics:

Fbs : less than 100. Preferably @ 85.

Blood sugar should never go beyond 140. Better to measure at 1 hour pp.

Thank you for sharing the article, it was very informative.

Do we get CGM in India? What will the cost be and how frequently do we need to spend on replacing or any other thing and how much?

in reply to Santoshi2203

I will send you a message later tomorrow when I’m on HU in the morning (after 8:30 am USA time).

in reply to Santoshi2203

I sent the private message right now, Santoshi2203. Sorry for the delay.

I am fully agreeing with the article, organ damage chances are more in a diabetic if his PP blood sugar is continuously more than 180.

Thank you for a good summary of blood sugar values for normal, pre-diabetic and diabetic. There are two points which will make it more complete:

1. There is another category defined by ADA in between normal and diabetic.

i. e. fbs< 100 mg/dl for normal healthy individuals; fbs between 100 and 125 pre-diabetes and fbs> 125 diabetic. For post-prandial, the limits are defined as follows : normal< 140 mg/dl ; pre-diabetic between 140 and 199 mg/dl and above 200 diabetic.

2. Recently, the American College of Physicians have revised the target values for management of diabetes, particularly, in elderly people, to achieve an HbA1C between 7.0% to 8.0% instead of under 7.0% as done so far. The reference to this scientific article was given by praveen55 in reply to my question ( srk1942). You may please see this for details.

Thank you for this enlightening information

Article is fantastic

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