Knowing if your blood sugar is normal is not as easy as it appears. It depends on your specific condition.
In order to find out whether your blood sugar is normal, there are several factors you should take into consideration.
Bear in mind that you should consult your doctor in order to find out your personal goals.
Normal Levels of Blood Sugar in Non-Diabetic vs. Diabetic
First of all, you should know how the blood sugar is measured. In the USA, the standard measurement is by weight in mg i.e. milligrams per dl i.e. deciliter. While in most cases, everyone else use millimole i.e. mmol per liter.
People from the USA should see the big numbers, while others should see the small numbers.
People that do not have diabetes usually have blood sugars between 70 to 100 mg/dl that is 3.8 and also 5.5. mmol. And after these people eat, their levels of blood sugar can actually rise all the way to 120 mg/dl i.e. 6.7 mmol.
And within 2 hours it will return to normal. On the other hand, the situation is more complicated with people that have diabetes.
People That Have Hypoglycemia i.e. Low Blood Sugars
The blood sugar of these people is below 70 mg/dl i.e. below 3.8 mmol. When the blood sugars are below this level, you can experience racing of your heart, hunger or shakiness.
That is when the body is actually starving for sugar i.e. glucose.
Normal Blood Sugar
For these people their blood sugar is from 70 mg/dL to 140 mg/dL i.e. 3.8 mmol to 7.7 mmol. The body functions normally as it should.
With people that do not have diabetes, most of the time they are in the lower half from this range.
Elevated Blood Sugars
The blood sugar is 140 mg/dL to 180 mg/dL i.e. 7.7 mmol to 10 mmol. The body may function relatively normally.
But, if you are in this zone for long period of time that can lead to a risk of long-term complications.
High Blood Sugar
The blood sugars in this range are above 180 mg/dl i.e. above 10 mmol. When in this range, your kidney is not able to reabsorb all amount of glucose in the blood, and you can start to spill sugar i.e. glucose in the urine.
The body can start to release ketones in the urine and turn to fat in order to get energy. In order to find out if you have ketones in the urine, you may buy strips to make a test.
Immediately see your doctor in case you have ketones in the urine.
Fasting Blood Sugar or Normal Waking Blood Sugar
In an ideal situation, individuals with diabetes need to wake up with normal blood sugars. However, numerous people experience the “dawn phenomenon.”
When the body gets ready to start moving and wake up, it actually liberates stored sugar into your blood. This can lead to a moderate spike when it comes to the blood sugar.
You can check whether you have this “dawn phenomenon.” You need to do the test at night, set the alarm to wake up and check blood sugar.
If it is in the normal range, you can relax because then it is fine. But if it is high after you wake up the reason behind it might be the “dawn phenomenon.”
However, if there is a small spike that disappears quickly, probably it is nothing serious. However, just to be sure, consult your doctor.
The spike from this phenomenon is usually less than the spike from consuming a typical meal. Bear in mind that events from the night before might affect your morning blood sugars.
Another thing that might have an impact on your blood sugar is the amount of medicine you took and also the amount of carbs you consumed.
One more thing that can cause high blood sugars is a stressful night of turning and tossing.
The key to finding out the reason why you have high blood sugars in the morning is to learn the reasons behind the rise and fall of your blood sugars by checking your blood sugars.
Normal Post-Meal Blood Sugars
This chart compares the blood sugars after eating in an individual without diabetes and individual with diabetes. The recommendation from diabetes organizations is to keep the rise after eating below 180 mg/dl i.e. 10 mmol.
If you look at the chart carefully, you will understand things better. One hour after eating, is 200 mg/dL i.e. 11 mmol a high blood sugar?
If before you started eating you were actually at 150 mg/dL i.e. 8.3 mmol, then it is not. That means that your meal caused only a small bump of 50 mg/dL that is 2.8 mmol.
This is perfectly reasonable for an individual that has a pancreas that functions perfectly. It is crucial to know where you began in order to find out if your blood sugar is at its normal level.
What Level of Blood Sugar Is Healthy?
This question always leads to a long debate. According to long-term studies, the risk of complications has a dramatic drop off when the HbA1c is actually lower than 7 percent, which is an estimated average of the blood sugar of 154 mg/dL i.e. 8.6 mmol.
It will continue to drop until it comes below 6 percent, an average blood glucose of 126 mg/dL i.e. 7 mmol.
Many people strive for lower targets than this. However, there is still no research that outlines this approach and its benefits.
Another thing is that A1c studies only pay attention at averages. While in reality, based on genetics there is a large difference when it comes to risk of complications.
There are cases of people who had 30 or 40 years with diabetes that is type 1 diabetes controlling high blood sugar levels and did not have any complications.
On the other side, some people have almost perfect blood sugars, and still, they have complications.
For most people, a realistic goal in order to stay healthy is HbA1c of below 7 percent and even below 6.5. percent.
However, of course, for every rule there is an exception. The doctors can recommend even higher targets for individuals that have some health conditions, which are not able to sense blood sugars that are low, or for older adults.
In fact, most complications do not occur right away, they, in fact, need decades to happen. For example, if someone at the age of 90 get diagnoses of type 2 diabetes, there is almost no chance for that individual to experience the complications.
That is why your doctor can prescribe you therapies that are less intensive. According to many studies, the time spent in a healthy range is more important when compared to your A1c.
To be more accurate, if, for example, your low A1C is from many serious lows that balanced highs, that is not so good like simply to have steady blood sugars that are close to the normal range.
Note About The Accuracy of The Meter
You should know that in the USA themeter is usually approved for sale as long as the results have consistency within 20 percent of the right number.
To be more accurate, if you have blood sugar 180 mg/dL i.e. 10 mmol, then even the following result will be seen as accurate 216 mg/dL i.e. 12 mmol or even 144 mg/dL or 8 mmol.
Bear in mind that in practice, most of the meters are actually accurate. However, you should also know that even a hospital blood test with the use of calibrated equipment actually has a 10 percent margin of error.
Next time you check your very own blood sugar remember not to panic if it shows 140 mg/dL (7.7 mmol) and if you recheck it a couple of minutes later and it gives you a different result such as 150 mg/dL i.e. 8.3 mmol.
Remember that this is a change of only 1 mmol or 10 mg/dL, and it is probably because of the meter.
Is The Level of My Blood Sugar Normal?
And that is how we ended to this seemingly simple question, which comes with a very long answer.