Diabetes: Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes: Blood Sugar Levels

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Diabetes: Blood Sugar Levels

Topic Overview

Keeping your blood sugar in a target range reduces your risk of problems such as diabetic eye disease ( retinopathy ), kidney disease ( nephropathy ), and nerve disease ( neuropathy ).

Some people can work toward lower numbers, and some people may need higher goals.

For example, some children and adolescents with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, people who have severe complications from diabetes, people who may not live much longer, or people who have trouble recognizing the symptoms of low blood sugar may have a higher target range.

And some people, such as those who are newly diagnosed with diabetes or who don't have any complications from diabetes, may do better with a lower target range.

Work with your doctor to set your own target blood sugar range. This will help you achieve the best control possible without having a high risk of hypoglycemia.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests the following A1c and blood glucose ranges as a general guide. footnote 1

  • Children of any age with type 2 diabetes and most adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (non-pregnant)
    • A1c: Lower than 7.0%
    • Before meals: 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
    • 1 to 2 hours after meals: Lower than 180 mg/dL
  • Youth (younger than 18 years old) with type 1 diabetes
    • A1c: Lower than 7.5%
    • Before meals: 90 to 130 mg/dL
    • Bedtime and overnight: 90 to 150 mg/dL
  • Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who could become pregnant
    • A1c: Lower than 6.5%
  • Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant
    • A1c: Lower than 6.0% if possible, 7.0% if risk of hypoglycemia is high
    • Before meals: Lower than 95 mg/dL
    • 1 to 2 hours after meals: 120 to 140 mg/dL or lower
  • Women who have gestational diabetes
    • Before meals: Lower than 95 mg/dL
    • 1 to 2 hours after meals: 120 to 140 mg/dL or lower

Health Tools

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References

Citations

  1. American Diabetes Association (2019). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2019. Diabetes Care, 42(Suppl 1): S1–S193. Accessed December 17, 2018.

Other Works Consulted

  • American Diabetes Association (2017). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2017. Diabetes Care, 40(Suppl 1): S1–S135.
  • Inzucchi SE, et al. (2015). Management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes, 2015: A patient-centered approach: Update to a position statement of the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 38(1): 140–149. DOI: 10.2337/dc14-2441. Accessed February 18, 2015.

Credits

Current as of: December 19, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review:

E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine

Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine

Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator