Blood Sugar Levels

Your diabetes lifestyle goals go beyond just eating healthy and managing your medications. There are other factors to take into consideration when it comes to preventing diabetes complications, such as properly managing your blood sugar. Our educational diabetes program will equip you with the information you need to better understand blood sugar management and improve your blood sugar numbers. So you can rest assured knowing you’re taking all the steps you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Laboratory Tests for Blood Sugar

  • A1C - An A1C test, also known as a glycated hemoglobin test, is a blood test used to measure the average blood sugar levels over a span of three months. It is commonly used to diagnose and monitor diabetes and is done 2-4 times a year . The test measures the percentage of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, that has sugar attached to it. By determining the A1C level, healthcare professionals can assess how well a person's blood sugar has been controlled over time. The results help individuals and their doctors understand their risk of developing complications related to diabetes and make informed decisions about their treatment and lifestyle choices. An A1C of 5.6% or lower is considered normal, between 5.7% - 6.4% is considered prediabetic and an A1C of 6.5% or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. The goal A1C for people with diabetes is 7% or less.
  • Fasting blood sugar test - A blood sample is taken after you fast for 8 - 12 hours. A fasting blood sugar level of less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal, between 100 - 125 mg/dL is prediabetic, and 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes.
  • Random blood sugar test - A blood sample is taken at a random time, regardless of when you last ate. A blood sugar level above 200 mg/dL suggests diabetes.
  • Glucose tolerance test - This test requires you to fast for 8 - 12 hours. The fasting blood sugar level is tested, then you drink a sugary liquid and additional blood sugar levels are checked over a two-hour period. Blood sugar levels less than 140 mg/dL are considered normal, readings between 140 - 199 mg/dL is prediabetic, and 200 mg/dL or greater indicates you have diabetes.

Monitoring your Blood Sugar

The more you know about how your blood sugar responds to food, exercise and medication, the more power you'll have to manage your blood sugar level and keep it on target. Your doctor or educator will tell you how often you should check your blood sugar levels. Keeping track of the results will help you and your healthcare team make changes to your diet, exercise plan or medications. Be sure to take your blood sugar records with you for your doctor to review.

How to Check Your Blood Sugar and What it Means

  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Let your arm hang for 30 seconds to allow blood to flow to your fingertips.
  • Rest your hand on a flat surface with your palm up.
  • Prick the side of your fingertip with the lancet. (There are fewer nerves on the side and it may not hurt as much.)
  • Gently massage your fingertip, above the prick point, until a drop of blood appears.
  • Carefully follow the instructions for applying the blood sample to the sensor or test strip. (Timing and the amount of blood sample may differ depending on the type of monitor.)
  • Safely throw away the lancet in a tightly closed container.
  • Write down the results in your log.

Diabetes Blood Sugar Goals

Before Meals: 80 - 130 mg/dL
2 Hours After Meals: Less than 180 mg/dL

High Blood Sugar Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar) Symptoms

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Extreme hunger or thirst
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Nausea
  • Need to urinate often
  • Slow-healing cuts or sores or frequent infections

Causes of High Blood Sugar (240 mg/dL or higher)

  • Eating more than usual
  • Eating foods high in sugar (glucose)
  • Illness
  • Less activity than usual
  • Not taking enough diabetes medication link to medication
  • Stress
  • Taking certain medications link to medication

Treating High Blood Sugar

  • Drink sugar-free liquids (water, diet soda) if your doctor hasn't restricted your fluids
  • Test your blood sugar every four hours
  • Call your doctor if you feel the same or are getting worse

Low Blood Sugar Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) Symptoms

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Hunger
  • Headache
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Sweating

*The symptoms of low blood sugar can come on suddenly.

Causes of Low Blood Sugar (70 mg/dL or lower)

  • Drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • Eating less than usual or delaying or skipping a meal
  • Increased activity or activity without eating
  • Taking too much diabetes medication or taking it at the wrong time

Treating Low Blood Sugar
Test your blood sugar and if it is less than 70 mg/dL, eat or drink 15 grams of one of the following:

  • Three to four glucose tablets
  • Four ounces of juice or regular pop
  • Five to six hard candies

After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar again. If it's still low, follow the 15:15 rule again.

  • The 15:15 Rule for Low Blood Sugar
    • Eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate
    • After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar again
    • If your blood sugar is still low, repeat the rule of 15
  • Call your doctor if you get two or more low blood sugar readings in a week or for any reading under 50 mg/dL