Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Adults With Diabetes

Chart Normal Blood Sugar Level Adults

Normally, your pancreas releases insulin when your blood sugar, or “blood glucose,” gets high -- after a meal, for example. That signals your body to absorb glucose until levels get back to normal.

But if you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin (type 1 diabetes) or doesn’t respond to it normally (type 2 diabetes). That can leave your blood sugar too high for too long. Over time, that can damage nerves and blood vessels and lead to heart disease and other problems.

If you have diabetes, your doctor may ask you to keep track of your blood sugar by testing it at home with a special device called a blood glucose monitor or home blood sugar meter. It takes a small sample of blood, usually from the tip of your finger, and measures the amount of glucose in it.

Follow your doctor’s instructions about the best way to use your device.

Your doctor will tell you when and how to test your blood sugar. Each time you do it, log it in a notebook or online tool or in an app. The time of day, recent activity, your last meal, and other things can all affect whether a reading will be of concern to your doctor. So try to log relevant information like:

  • What medication and dosage you took
  • What you ate, when you ate, or whether you were fasting
  • How much, how intense, and what kind of exercise you were doing, if any

That will help you and your doctor see how your treatment is working.

Managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes well 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.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on January 25, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level.”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Prediabetes & Insulin Resistance.”

Mensing, C. The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education Desk Reference, 2nd Ed., American Association of Diabetes Educators, 2011.

American Diabetes Association: "Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2014."

Joslin Diabetes Center: "Goals for Blood Glucose Control."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level."

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