What Is the Ideal Blood Sugar Level?

Diabetics must check their blood sugar levels regularly to ensure they remain at the ideal level.
A glucose blood test measures the amount of glucose or "sugar" in the blood.
Lowering high levels of blood sugar may lead to weight loss.
Article Details
  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

The ideal blood sugar level varies from person to person and can depend on a variety of factors, including how long it has been since a person has had a meal. In general, levels ranging between 70 to 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) are considered normal for non-diabetics who have not just had a meal. If a person has just had a meal, the ideal level of blood glucose should be between 70 and 145 mg/dL for non-diabetics. Levels that are higher than this could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.

A person who consistently has blood sugar levels that range from 100 to 125 mg/dL after an eight-hour fast may have pre-diabetes. Levels of 140 to 199 mg/dL after eating or following an oral glucose test also indicate pre-diabetes. A person who is diagnosed with pre-diabetes is at great risk of developing type 2 diabetes and should immediately start taking steps to prevent it by making certain lifestyle changes, such as improved eating habits and exercise. These changes may additionally help a person to lose weight, which would be beneficial for someone who is overweight and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Ad

Blood sugar levels that exceed 125 mg/dL after an eight-hour fast indicate diabetes. If levels exceed 200 mg/dL after an oral glucose test, it is also likely that diabetes is present. The ideal blood sugar level for diabetics is higher than the normal level for non-diabetics. People with diabetes whose levels are between 80 and 120 mg/dL after fasting or just before eating are thought to have their blood sugar under control. The ideal blood sugar level for diabetics just after meals should not typically exceed 160 mg/dL.

Doctors do not typically diagnose diabetes until several tests have been administered. It is important for doctors to be sure that blood sugar levels are staying consistently high before they make a firm diagnosis. This is usually done by using both fasting blood sugar tests and oral glucose tests. With a fasting test, a person's blood sugar levels are checked either first thing in the morning or just after an eight-hour fast. An oral glucose test is a test doctors use to see how high a person's blood sugar level rises after drinking a very sweet, sugary drink and then checking the levels again a few hours later to see how much they drop. These tests are usually done a few different times on different days so that doctors can be certain a person is testing well above the ideal blood sugar level before confirming diabetes.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

dfoster85
Post 2

@SailorJerry - Opinion is divided on the one hour glucose test, as it's also called. A lot of people in the natural childbirth and midwifery communities think that it's not necessary. A woman with gestational diabetes will indeed usually have other symptoms. She might feel unwell or have sugar spilling into her urine (one reason they have pregnant woman pee in a cup so often).

Most OBs, however, do them routinely for all pregnant women. But when I told my OB that I wasn't comfortable doing the syrup test, he didn't force the issue. He did suggest that I do a fasting glucose test as an alternative, so I went to the lab one morning right when it opened and had some blood drawn. The lab tech was a little confused because it didn't say that it was a "post dose" blood draw!

SailorJerry
Post 1

My wife is in her second trimester of pregnancy and I'm concerned about the glucose tolerance testing (GTT) that they do to check for prenatal diabetes. I don't like the idea of her drinking the sugary syrup that they use. Is it really necessary for someone with no other signs of gestational diabetes?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email