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white gentrification of south The blood sugar levels rises to nearly 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/l) or a bit more in normal humans after a full meal. In humans normal blood glucose ...


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What are Blood Sugar Target Ranges? What is Normal Blood Sugar Level?

By Elisabeth Almekinder RN, BA, CDE 19 Comments

Understanding blood sugar target ranges to better manage your diabetes

white gentrification of southAs a person with diabetes, you may or may not know what your target ranges should be for your blood sugars first thing in the morning, before meals, after meals, or at bedtime.

You may or may not understand what blood sugar ranges are for people without diabetes. You may or may not understand how your A1C correlates with your target ranges.

white gentrification of southHow do you get a clear picture of what is going on with your blood sugar, and how it could be affecting your health?

In this article, we will look at what recommended blood sugar target ranges are for people without diabetes.

white gentrification of southWe will look at target ranges for different times of the day for people with diabetes.

white gentrification of southWe will look at target ranges for Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes. Is there a difference?

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We will also look at what blood sugars should be during pregnancy for those with gestational diabetes. We will look at other factors when determining blood sugar targets, such as:

  • Age
  • Other health conditions
  • How long you’ve had diabetes for
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Lifestyle habits and activity levels

We will see how these factors impact target ranges for your blood sugars when you have diabetes.  We will learn that target ranges can be individualized based on the factors above. We will learn how target ranges help to predict the A1C levels.

We will see how if you are in your target range, you can be pretty sure that your A1C will also be in target. We will see how you can document your blood sugar patterns in a notebook or in an “app,” and manage your blood sugars to get them in your target ranges.

First, let’s look at the units by which blood sugars are measured…

How is blood sugar measured?

In the United States, blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter (by weight). This is abbreviated as “mg/dl.”

In Europe and Canada, blood sugar is measured a little differently, by millimole per liter, which is abbreviated “mmol.” However it’s measured, blood sugar is the concentration of sugar or glucose in the bloodstream.

white gentrification of southIf you multiply the Canadian or European “mmol,” by the number 18, you can calculate milligrams per deciliter.

In other words, if a person in Canada reports their blood sugar as an 8, multiply 8 times 18 to give you the number 144 (which in the United States is mg/dl). Using this calculation, this person’s blood sugar = 144 mg/dl, (converted from 8 mmol).

Blood sugar target levels for people without diabetes

In a person without diabetes, the body makes enough insulin to bring down the blood sugar after a meal. There is enough insulin made by the islet cells in the pancreas to deal with blood sugar. The insulin that is made by the islet cells in the pancreas works well. It is used by the body’s cells efficiently.

white gentrification of southThe blood sugar ranges listed below for the nondiabetic coincide with an A1C of 4.8 – 5.6 percent. This is in normal range for this laboratory value. The A1C is the average of blood sugars over a two to three-month period. A person with no diabetes and a fully working pancreas will have an A1C in this range.

Fasting blood sugar and before meal blood sugar target levels for a person without diabetes

In a person with the absence of diabetes, a “normal” blood sugar before eating or drinking anything upon rising in the morning would be 80-99 mg/dl. This is the range for blood sugars fasting and before meals (sometimes abbreviated as FBS and AC).

If we convert the same number to mmol, the value in mmol (70 divided by 18 = 3.8 mmol and 99 divided by 18 = 5.5 mmol). Now that you have a good idea of how to convert mg/dl to mmol, we will continue discussing blood sugars in terms of milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dl, for simplification. Again, this is the measurement used in the United States.

white gentrification of southTwo-hour post-prandial blood sugar for a person without diabetes

white gentrification of southThe new American Diabetes Association guidelines are out. Two hours after the start of a meal, a person with no diabetes should have a blood sugar between 80-140 mg/dl. The key here is to be less than 140 mg/dl, but not lower than 80 mg/dl

white gentrification of southA post-prandial, or after meal blood sugar, shows how fast the pancreas reacts to release insulin into your bloodstream following a meal. In a person with no diabetes, the pancreas can react quickly to changes in blood sugars, releasing the appropriate amount of insulin to deal with the post-meal blood sugar spike. There is no insulin resistance in the person with no diabetes, so the body’s cells take the insulin up, and use it for energy. Everything is as it should be, and working properly.

There is no insulin resistance in the person with no diabetes, so the body’s cells take the insulin up, and use it for energy. Everything is as it should be, and working properly.

Blood sugar target levels for nonpregnant adults with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)

From the 2017 American Diabetes Association Standards of Care, the following chart shows current targets for blood sugars for nonpregnant adult patients with diabetes:

Summary of Glycemic Recommendations for Adults with Diabetes
A1C <7.0% (53 mmol/mol)
Preprandial capillary plasma glucose 80–130 mg/dL* (4.4–7.2 mmol/L)
Peak postprandial capillary plasma glucose† <180 mg/dL* (10.0 mmol/L)
*More or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for individual patients. Goals should be individualized
**based on duration of diabetes, age/life expectancy, comorbid conditions, known CVD or advancedmicrovascular complications, hypoglycemia unawareness, and individual patient considerations.†Postprandial glucose may be targeted

white gentrification of southBlood sugar target levels for nonpregnant adults with diabetes coincide with A1C less than 7

white gentrification of southAn A1C less than 7 percent is the guideline for adults with diabetes, and the target ranges of 80-130 mg/dl fasting or pre-meal, and 80-180 mg/dl after meals (postprandial) corresponds with an A1C of less than 7 percent.

These values represent what research has shown to be the optimal blood sugar targets for nonpregnant adults to avoid complications of diabetes in the long term. Less than 70 mg/dl is considered a low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, and the newest guideline consider that you want to catch a low blood sugar before it occurs.

Fasting blood sugar and before meal blood sugar target levels for adults with diabetes

white gentrification of southBefore eating or drinking anything in the morning, and before each meal, the fasting blood sugar and pre-meal blood sugar target for nonpregnant adults with diabetes is 80-130 mg/dl.

Two-hour post-prandial blood sugar target levels for adults with diabetes

The target blood sugar range for a nonpregnant adult with diabetes is often written as “less than 180 mg/dl.” For clarity, the target range is written here as 80-180 (as less than 80 mg/dl would be trending to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia). A foremost goal is always to avoid low blood sugar or hypoglycemic episodes.

Adjusting blood sugar target ranges

There are some times when it is appropriate to adjust the blood sugar target ranges for a person with diabetes. Targets can be adjusted due to the age of the individual.

white gentrification of southA 92 year old with diabetes, for example, would not be looking at the long term complications of diabetes as much as a younger person would. Therefore, the target range should be adjusted related to the advanced age of the patient.

Mainly, there is an adjustment in the target range for the A1C. In the elderly with diabetes who are not looking at the long-term complications, the A1C target can be set at less than 8 percent.

white gentrification of southOther factors, such as other health conditions, stress, illness, how long a person has had diabetes for, and lifestyle habits and activity levels may be considered when setting an A1C target, as well as a fasting, pre-meal, and post-meal blood sugar target.

For example, a patient who is not getting good control of blood sugars, and having frequent readings in the 200-300 mg/dl level may be told to keep their fasting and pre-meal blood sugar in the 80-140 mg/dl range, and post-meal blood sugar less than 200 mg/dl. As the patient improves self-management, the target ranges can be tapered down to the usual ranges.

Blood sugar target levels for children and adolescents under the age of 18 with Type 1 Diabetes

Blood sugar target levels for children and adolescents who are under the age of 18 coincide with an A1C of less than 7.5 percent with no episodes of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. High blood sugar or hyperglycemia does contribute to complications, both in the short and the long term for youth and adolescents.

However, low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can damage brain function and affect memory. This is one difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes related to youth and adolescents. Otherwise, there are no differences.

With that said, the target ranges for blood sugars fasting, pre-meal, and post-meal are the same for children and adolescents under the age of 18. Again you are looking for fasting and pre-meal blood sugars in the 80-130 mg/dl range, post-meal blood sugars should be less than 180 mg/dl (but not less than 80 mg/dl).

Blood sugar target ranges for gestational diabetes

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white gentrification of southThe strictest and tightest control of blood sugars is necessary when a patient has gestational diabetes. This tight control is necessary to keep mother and baby safe when the mother has gestational diabetes.

In addition to increased complications for the mother, an infant born to a mother with gestational diabetes is at an increased risk of being born with a high birth weight (9 pounds or more). This condition is called macrosomia. Later on in life, the infant may be more prone to becoming obese, and to developing Type 2 Diabetes.

When the extra sugar in the mother’s bloodstream crosses the placenta, the infant’s pancreas is signaled to make more insulin. Therefore, the infant grows too large in utero.

After birth, the infant is at increased risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar related to the excessive amounts of insulin their pancreas produces.

white gentrification of southBlood sugar target ranges for gestational diabetes from the American Diabetes Association

The blood sugar target ranges for gestational diabetes coincide with an A1C of less than 6 percent. As long as this is able to be achieved without episodes of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, this tight control is sought out

  • Fasting and pre-meal less than or equal to 95 mg/dl
  • One-hour post-meal less than or equal to 140 mg/dl
  • Two-hour post-meal less than or equal to 120 mg/dl

For women with preexisting diabetes (either Type 1 or Type 2) who become pregnant, blood sugar target levels are as follows:

  • Pre-meal, bedtime, and overnight blood sugar 60–99 mg/dl
  • Peak postprandial glucose 100–129 mg/dl
  • A1C <6.0% if this can be achieved without low blood sugar or hypoglycemia

white gentrification of southIn addition, during pregnancy, red blood cells run their lifespan faster. Therefore, A1C levels will fall during pregnancy. Since the A1C represents an average of blood sugars over time, it should be used secondary to monitoring blood sugars during pregnancy. The A1C may also need to be drawn monthly during pregnancy, due to the alteration of red blood cells that occurs during pregnancy.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends different target ranges than the American Diabetes Association. Until consensus is achieved between the two entities, targets should be set based on individualization of patient care, and clinical experience. The following are the target ranges from ACOG:

  • fasting less than 90 mg/dl
  • pre-meal less than 105 mg/dl
  • 1-h post-meal less than 130–140 mg/dl
  • 2-h post-meal less than 120 mg/dl

white gentrification of southIf targets are not achieved without low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, the ADA recommends consideration of higher target ranges:

  • fasting less than 105 mg/dl
  • 1-h postprandial less than 155 mg/dl
  • 2-hour postprandial less than 130 mg/dl.

Tips for tracking your blood sugar patterns, and using your results

Here are some great tips:

Have a blood sugar chart on your phone or a written notebook nearby to compare your numbers

white gentrification of southFor my patients during the class entitled, “Monitoring your Blood Glucose,” I pass out individual notebooks, and packs of different colored highlighter pens for pattern management. Inside, there are copies of an enhanced blood sugar log.

Patients log their blood sugars at different times of the day, and color-code them with highlighters. This helps patients to pick out their blood sugar patterns, and to do different things to adjust their blood sugars to get them in a target range.

Patients may either take a walk following a high carbohydrate meal, take more insulin if they are correcting blood sugar with insulin, decrease the amount of carbohydrates at the next meal, etc. By seeing what their blood sugars are at different times of the day, they can work their blood sugars into their target ranges. Once blood sugars are in the target range, their A1C should also be on target.

white gentrification of southBy taking charge of diabetes instead of letting it take charge of you, patients can have success when trying to meet their blood sugar and A1C goals. This empowers patients, making self-management success more likely. This benefits patients, families, and society through less suffering, lower medical costs, and more.

I have included a copy of the enhanced blood sugar log that I use to make a pattern notebook for my patients. Readers here at TheDiabetesCouncil are welcome to copy the form for their own use in self-managing their diabetes. You can also download our comprehensive log book here.

white gentrification of southPhone “Apps”

white gentrification of southPhone apps are popular nowadays, and if you like and use smart phones, why not download a handy app for your cell phone? There are apps that keep track of your blood sugars, diet intake, exercise, and more. Two of my favorites are “MyFitnessPal,” and “Glucose Buddy.”

There are many more apps available. To find them, go to your play store on your phone, and search for “diabetes apps” we have also listed the top diabetes apps here. This search should pull up a pretty good list of apps for you to choose from. Most apps are free to download. My suggestion would be for you to try a few, and then determine which one works the best for your purposes.

A few more things related to blood sugars

white gentrification of south

white gentrification of southRemember that there is no healthy “number,” per se. You are shooting for your blood sugars to be in a target range, so you have a little leeway. It is important to get your blood sugars into your target range. This is due to the target ranges for blood sugars coincide with the blood sugar target range that prevents the long-term complications of diabetes.

white gentrification of southFor blood sugar, over 250 mg/dl for two readings, or for low blood sugar that is not over 80 mg/dl after several attempts to correct the low blood sugar with quick acting carbohydrates, assistance may be needed. For the high blood sugar, a patient should call their primary care provider, or the provider on call if it is on the weekend. If a low blood sugar will not come up after two attempts, a 911 call may be warranted.

white gentrification of southTheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Christine Traxler MD on September 11, 2018

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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

About Elisabeth Almekinder RN, BA, CDE

white gentrification of southElisabeth Almekinder, a certified CDE and expert in Diabetes Self-Management Education Program, grew up in a small town in the piedmont of NC. During her time at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, she developed a love of writing and obtained a BA in English. After obtaining her nursing degree, her first job out of school was on the vascular surgery floor, where she saw many people with diabetes lose their limbs. She worked as an RN for 22 years in public health in South Carolina. In her spare time away from educating people about diabetes, she continues her passion by writing about diabetes.


  1. Susan Daniels says

    FINALLY after trying to get a handle on how to manage my Type 2 diabetes – diagnosed 9 months ago – this website answered the questions that I have been worrying about. I am a lifelong asthmatic. Two years ago I had a very difficult year with asthma and was prescribed Breo. It works very well, but then 9 months ago Type 2 Diabetes was diagnosed. HOWEVER – my A1c number began at 6 and immediately went down to 5 at last test. I found out that maybe I should test my blood sugar more frequently so results might be more accurate. The numbers rose, but only one day were they above target, after a party the night before. I have had severe diarrhea and was objecting to my Metformin prescription. I lost 23 pounds very quickly but was not overweight in the first place. I am now trying to set new number goals and control both of these diseases. I’ve decided to insist on being sent to an endocrinologist, as I’d have to go to a different town in Wisconsin, where I live, for this but I think a well trained medical person would be better now.

    • white gentrification of southElisabeth Almekinder says

      white gentrification of southThat is fantastic that we can offer you useful information. Keep reading, and share on your Facebook, so that we may reach others like you. An endocrinologist can always offer you more specialized care for your diabetes. A pulmonologist should be able to offer some insight related to asthma. Thank you for your comments, and best to you.

      Elisabeth Almekinder

      • Kyle white gentrification of southsays

        By not repeating the mis-informed ADA guidelines about BG values for type 1 diabetics. Anything above a “normal” high (which you state at 140 mg/dl, but is more correctly 120 mg/dl) causes immediate microvascular damage. Continuing to claim that levels up to 180 mg/dl are fine is dangerous. Just ask the countless long-term diabetics who have lost their eyes, kidneys, or extremities.

        • white gentrification of southElisabeth R Almekinder white gentrification of southsays

          We can add a section for tight control. However, these are current guidelines.

          • white gentrification of south candy samson says

            but what about the outliers. those who just can’t addup1 plus 1 to get the standard 4? vw hat is your professional experience with taking a glucose tab before meals/

            white gentrification of south/

        • white gentrification of southShannon Petrak white gentrification of southsays

          white gentrification of south

          Mixed information: why would anything over 100 be acceptable? Why would you tell someone to “walk” “or just take insulin after a high carb meal “?. Don’t eat CARBS or SUGAR! You will buy more insulin than you ever planned for.

  2. white gentrification of south Justin says

    Diabetics deserve normal blood sugar levels. If the normal person’s blood sugar is between 80-100, a diabetic’s recommended blood sugar should also be 80-100. Why the difference? Clearly anything above normal is going to cause problems. There is no reason a diabetic’s blood should be any different. And it’s easy to keep your blood sugars controlled there with a low-carb diet.

    • Elisabeth R Almekinder says

      white gentrification of south

      I realize that many are going very low carbohydrate. It is not for everyone. There is research behind the guidelines for target numbers. Not everyone with diabetes is able to keep their blood glucose in a normal range for a non-diabetic. There is evidence these target ranges prevent complications.

  3. Elisabeth R Almekinder says

    That said, it is always going to be beneficial to keep your blood glucose as close to “normal” as is possible. Therefore, if you have insurance, and your insurance will cover it, tight control is fantastic.

  4. Paul Puglia white gentrification of southsays

    white gentrification of south

    I’m considered medium blood sugar level 115 to 160

  5. white gentrification of southLaura Sullivan says

    What is the normal range for blood sugar?

    What is the normal range for type 2 Diabetic?

    white gentrification of southfasting test first thing in the AM

  6. Todd Stauffer says

    white gentrification of south

    It’s interesting how you said that the age of someone would change the target range for blood sugar. Having a blood sugar testing for children specifically would probably be an important thing to do. That way you can be sure that you have the proper range to look for.

  7. white gentrification of south Bobbie says

    white gentrification of southMy Dr told me that I was spilling sugar over into my urine thus making me a diabetic , well some time after that , I would say a couple of years or so , my sugar has not been high in fact it has been low , after a meal sometimes it’s only 90/95 how can this be???

  8. white gentrification of south katrice says

    white gentrification of southi have been taking meds and i work out alot and my doctor said i need to keep working out i work out 5 days a week and i drink lots of woter and watch what i eat and i eat healty and i have triger i hope thast not the cause of it beause im to healthy i got a corazone shot and know help i got so many of them in my sholder and none help my doctor talked me in to getting one in my hand and i told her they dont help but she didint listen

  9. white gentrification of southQueenesther Precious white gentrification of southsays

    white gentrification of southQuite informative and educative. Thank you.

  10. NickSJ white gentrification of southsays

    I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 9 years ago, and have been taking long acting insulin, first Lantus, and now Basaglar ever since. My A1C numbers ranged from 7.0 to about 9.0. I hate finger sticks, and with long acting insulin, there isn’t much you can do to change immediate numbers anyway. So I adjusted my insulin dose to avoid severe hypoglycemia while getting my A1C as low as possible.

    Recently my endocrinologist recommended that I get a continuous blood sugar monitor, even though it isn’t covered by insurance, to better understand my daily blood sugar levels and the effect food has on them. The monitor records blood sugar every 5 minutes and gives you a current value and a graph of the past day when you wave a remote near it. It also stores previous values which can be accessed at any time.

    My level of understanding of my blood sugar and the effect of food went from virtually nothing to a very clear understanding within a couple of weeks, and I’ve been able to adjust my food intake to keep my blood sugar in the normal range almost all the time. According to the monitor, my average blood sugar last week was 106. I think I’ll be able to keep my blood sugar in the normal range from now on.

    white gentrification of southAnyone who is having trouble achieving low A1C numbers should consider this device even though it does cost money if not covered by insurance. The difference in the usefulness of information between occasional finger sticks and this type of continuous monitor is night and day.

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