Home » Normal Blood Sugar Levels Chart By Age

For every diabetics patient, It is important to check your blood sugar regularly to manage diabetes effectively. Whether you are using a fingerstick meter or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), keeping track is a big part of your daily routine when you have this condition. This helps avoid potential problems linked to diabetes in the future. Now, you might be wondering, what is the “normal” range for blood sugar levels? Well, diabetes is different for everyone, so the goals for managing blood sugar vary from person to person. These goals depend on different factors. you can talk to your diabetes care team about this, but the medical community gives guidance on the ideal blood glucose levels that certain people should aim for.

What Is Blood Sugar?

Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is like the body’s energy fuel found in the blood. It comes from the food we eat, especially carbohydrates. The body keeps blood sugar levels in check because having too much or too little can be bad for our health. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that helps cells use or store glucose when levels go up after eating. When we are not eating, or when our body needs extra energy, the pancreas releases another hormone called glucagon, which tells the body to release stored glucose.

It is important to keep blood sugar levels stable for good health. High levels, seen in diabetes, can lead to problems like heart disease and kidney damage. Low levels, known as hypoglycemia, can cause dizziness and confusion. Regularly checking and managing blood sugar levels through a balanced diet, exercise, and sometimes medication helps prevent and handle conditions like diabetes. Doctors use check-ups and blood tests to see how well blood sugar is controlled and make any needed adjustments to keep us healthy.

Why Does Blood Sugar Matter With Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that makes it hard for the body to control sugar levels. When someone has diabetes, their body either does not make enough insulin or can’t use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use sugar for energy. When there is not enough insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and can harm organs and tissues. Diabetes happens when the body can’t handle the sugar we eat every day. High sugar levels for a long time can lead to problems in both large and small blood vessels. Over time, issues with large vessels can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Problems with small vessels can cause nerve damage, vision loss, and kidney failure.

For people with diabetes, it is important to keep blood sugar levels healthy to avoid serious health problems. This means knowing the right sugar levels for different ages and making lifestyle changes based on what you eat and when you eat, among other things.

What Is an A1C Number?

The A1C test, also known as glycosylated hemoglobin, is a common tool used to check a person’s average blood sugar levels over the past three months (90 days). It gives a picture of how well someone has been managing their blood sugar during that time. According to Peralta, it is a crucial measure for controlling blood sugar in diabetes. It offers a long-term perspective and helps predict the risk of diabetes-related complications. The test involves taking a small blood sample to analyze the amount of hemoglobin—a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen and binds to glucose molecules. The A1C test detects how much hemoglobin is bound to glucose, and this is often done with a simple finger prick in the doctor’s office.

The A1C result is given as a percentage. Higher percentages mean higher levels of glucose in the blood. For someone without diabetes, a healthy A1C reading is between 4% and 5.7%. A reading between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered prediabetic, while 6.5% and higher indicate diabetes. It is important to note that other medical conditions like anemia can affect the A1C number, leading to inaccurate readings. This is why it is recommended to look at additional numbers, such as fasting glucose, along with the A1C result.

Normal Blood Sugar Levels

Normal blood sugar levels refer to the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood, which is a type of fuel your body uses for energy. When your blood sugar levels are normal, it means that there is an appropriate amount of glucose in your bloodstream. To maintain good health, it is important to keep your blood sugar levels within a certain range. This is often measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Normal blood sugar levels help your body function properly, providing energy to your cells and organs.

When you eat, your body breaks down the food into glucose, which enters your bloodstream. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, helps regulate the amount of glucose in your blood. Normal blood sugar levels indicate that this process is working effectively, and your body is able to use the glucose from food for energy without any problems. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels, especially if you have conditions like diabetes, as maintaining normal levels can prevent health issues and ensure your body functions optimally. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and other lifestyle choices can help you in keeping your blood sugar levels in check.

How Is Blood Sugar Tested?

Blood sugar testing is a common procedure used to measure the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood, important for managing and diagnosing conditions such as diabetes. The choice of testing method depends on the specific situation and personal needs. One method is the Fasting Blood Sugar Test (FBS), which measures blood sugar levels after an overnight fast of about 8 hours. Another is the Postprandial Blood Sugar Test (PPBS), conducted two hours after eating. A Random Blood Sugar Test can be done at any time, irrespective of the last meal. The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) diagnoses gestational diabetes or insulin resistance by measuring how the body processes glucose after consuming a specific solution.

For assessing average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months, the Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test is employed. This test analyzes the percentage of hemoglobin glycated (attached to glucose) in the blood. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) provides real-time information on blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. A small sensor inserted under the skin transmits data to a device displaying real-time glucose levels and trends. People with diabetes often use Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG), involving a blood glucose meter to obtain a small blood sample, typically from a fingertip, for immediate testing. Regular monitoring helps manage the condition effectively. The choice of testing method is determined by factors such as the purpose of testing, personal health condition, and the healthcare provider’s recommendation.

When to Test Blood Sugar?

For many people dealing with diabetes, it is common to check blood sugar levels before meals and before going to bed. However, depending on their condition, a doctor might suggest testing blood sugar as soon as two hours after eating and even during the night. The frequency of testing should be determined by consulting with a doctor, who can provide personalized recommendations based on personal health needs.

There are other situations when testing blood sugar may be necessary, such as:

  1. Experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar, like dizziness, sweating, or confusion.
  2. After dining at a restaurant or trying new foods.
  3. Feeling unwell or sick.
  4. Dealing with stress.
  5. Consuming alcohol.
  6. Before and after exercising.
  7. Starting a new medication.
  8. After taking too much insulin or diabetes medication.
  9. After taking diabetes medication at the wrong time.

These additional instances highlight the importance of monitoring blood sugar levels in various situations to manage diabetes effectively.

Normal Blood Sugar Levels By Age

It’s important to know that what’s considered normal blood sugar levels can differ based on age, lifestyle, and health conditions.

The chart below, which Dr. Meller has reviewed, provides general recommendations for blood sugar levels by age, drawing insights from studies by organizations like the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and John Hopkins Medicine. However, individual health circumstances may vary, and this table is not meant to alter an existing treatment plan. It’s crucial for each person to consult their doctor to determine the appropriate target range for them.

AgeNormal Fasting Glucose (Without Diabetes)Fasting Glucose Level (Consistent with Diabetes)Target Glucose Range (Before Meals for Type 2 Diabetes)HbA1c (Without Diabetes)HbA1c (Possible Prediabetes)HbA1c (Consistent with Diabetes)HbA1c (Target Goal for Diabetes)
Children and AdolescentsLess than or equal to 100mg/dLGreater than or equal to 126mg/dL80 to 130mg/dLLess than 5.75.7-6.4Greater than or equal to 6.5Less than or equal to 7.0
AdultsLess than or equal to 100mg/dLGreater than or equal to 126mg/dL80 to 130mg/dLLess than 5.75.7-6.4Greater than or equal to 6.5Less than or equal to 7.0
Older adultsLess than or equal to 100mg/dLGreater than or equal to 126mg/dL80 to 150 or 170mg/dLLess than 5.75.7-6.4Greater than or equal to 6.5Less than or equal to 7.5-8.0
Remember, these are general guidelines, and the right target range may vary for each person. Always consult with a doctor to determine the most suitable plan for your individual health.

Unbalanced Blood Sugar

When your blood sugar levels are consistently too high or too low, you may notice certain signs and symptoms. Peralta and Dr. Meller highlight the common indicators of imbalanced blood sugar:

Signs of high blood sugar include:

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Fatigue
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Slow-healing sores
  6. Weight loss
  7. Frequent infections

Signs of low blood sugar include:

  1. Hunger
  2. Shaking
  3. Sweating
  4. Rapid heartbeat
  5. Headache
  6. Dizziness
  7. Confusion and difficulty concentrating

Recognizing these symptoms is important for managing blood sugar levels effectively. If you experience persistent symptoms, you may need to consult with your healthcare provider for proper guidance and adjustments to your diabetes management plan.

What Level of Blood Sugar Is Dangerous?

Blood sugar levels are typically measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) in the United States. The normal range for fasting blood sugar (measured after not eating for at least 8 hours) is usually between 70 and 100 mg/dL. After meals, blood sugar levels can rise, but they generally stay below 140 mg/dL two hours after eating. However, what is considered dangerous can vary based on individual health conditions, age, and other factors. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): Blood sugar levels below 70 mg/dL are considered low and can be dangerous. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, sweating, irritability, confusion, and in severe cases, loss of consciousness. Immediate treatment with a source of glucose is necessary to raise blood sugar levels.
  2. Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar): Persistent high blood sugar levels can be dangerous and are typically associated with diabetes. Levels above 180 mg/dL are generally considered elevated. Prolonged high blood sugar can lead to complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS), both of which are serious and require medical attention.

For people with diabetes, target blood sugar levels may vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and the presence of other medical conditions. It is important for people with diabetes to work with their healthcare team to establish personalized blood sugar targets.

What To Do For Blood Sugar That Is Too High or Low

Managing High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)

Managing high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) involves a comprehensive approach. First and foremost, it’s crucial to take insulin or medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider if you have diabetes. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels using a glucose meter is essential to track changes and respond promptly to any deviations. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help flush out excess glucose from the bloodstream. Adjusting your diet is also important, with a focus on limiting the intake of carbohydrates, especially refined sugars and processed foods. Opt for complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, and lean proteins, while also controlling portion sizes to manage blood sugar levels effectively.

In addition to dietary considerations, engaging in regular physical activity can contribute to lowering blood sugar levels. Before starting a new exercise regimen, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider. Managing stress through techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga is important, as stress can impact blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels remain consistently high, reaching out to your healthcare provider is essential for further guidance and potential adjustments to your treatment plan.

Managing Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia):

On the other hand, managing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) requires swift action. In the event of low blood sugar, consuming fast-acting carbohydrates is crucial. This can include glucose tablets, a small glass of fruit juice, or a regular soft drink to quickly raise blood sugar levels. Waiting for 15 minutes and then rechecking your blood sugar ensures that it has returned to a safe range. Following up with a balanced meal or snack containing a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats is important to prevent a recurrence of hypoglycemia.

Carrying a snack with carbohydrates at all times is advisable, especially for individuals on insulin or other medications that can lead to hypoglycemia. It’s essential to inform family, friends, or coworkers about your condition, ensuring they are aware of how to assist in case of severe hypoglycemia. If hypoglycemia becomes a recurrent issue, consulting with your healthcare provider is crucial to potentially adjust your medication or insulin regimen. Always follow the personalized guidance of your healthcare team, and seek prompt medical attention if you experience persistent high or low blood sugar levels. Regular communication with your healthcare provider is fundamental for effective diabetes management.

FAQ’s

What is a normal blood sugar level immediately after eating?

After eating, it’s considered normal for blood sugar levels to be 180 mg/dL or lower in people with diabetes who are not pregnant. For pregnant people with diabetes, the normal range is 140 mg/dL or lower, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

What is a healthy blood sugar level in the morning?

In the morning before eating, it’s healthy for blood sugar levels to be between 80 and 130 mg/dL.

What is a normal blood sugar level for a pregnant woman?

For pregnant individuals monitoring their blood glucose levels, the American Diabetes Association suggests the following target ranges:
Fasting (before eating): 95 mg/dL or less
One hour after eating: 140 mg/dL or less
Two hours after eating: 120 mg/dL or less

Should I worry about blood sugar if I don’t have diabetes?

If you don’t have diabetes, checking your blood sugar is typically not needed. But, if you have factors that increase the risk of prediabetes—like being overweight, over 45 years old, or having a close family member with type 2 diabetes—talk to your doctor. They can help decide if blood sugar testing is necessary for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *