Understand Blood Sugar Levels To Manage Diabetes

The best way to manage diabetes is to keep detailed records of your blood sugar levels so you can understand what they mean and how they affect you. Diabetes is a serious condition, but it is very manageable, because you have control of how it affects you. The evidence is the millions of people around the world who live healthy lives controlling diabetes.

If you are recently diagnosed, the best way to understand how your sugar levels affect you is to monitor your result on a chart. You can use your smart phone, computer or good old-fashioned paper. Over time, you will understand the effects of everything you eat and why your sugar level is up or down.

Understanding Levels of Blood Sugar

Blood sugar levels are simply the amounts of glucose or sugar in your blood. The result is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) in the US and millimoles per liter (mmol/l) in other countries. Your blood glucose level generally stays within the normal blood sugar range throughout the day. The level is lowest in the morning and highest after meals. As a diabetic, your blood sugar goes outside the normal range until you learn how to manage it properly. Testing is critical because you might get unusually high results from time to time even if you are managing your diabetes.


Although a control or standard result is defined for the tests, the blood glucose target is based on each individual. This is because many variables affect the result. The American Diabetes Association measures acceptable or normal blood glucose levels as A1C test results of less 7.0%, before meals of 70 – 130 mg/dl (3.9 – 7.2 mmol/l) and after meals of less than 180 mg/dl (10.0 mmol/l). You should also check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly.


Everyone is different, and what works for one person might not work for somebody else. Diabetes blood sugar levels fluctuate from individual to individual because the foods we consume affect each of us differently. This is why you should test your blood according to your needs until you understand the sugar levels in your individual case.

Tests are recommended first thing in the morning before breakfast, two hours after a meal and before you go to sleep. These are general guidelines but if you have an active lifestyle and you exercise a lot, you should test before you exercise, while you are exercising and afterward. Testing gives you the opportunity to detect dangerous blood glucose levels before they adversely affect your body.

Type 1 and Type 2

Type 1 and Type 2

The recommended testing is applied in broad terms because your individual case might require more or less testing. As a Type 1 diabetic you should measure your sugar level every day before meals. Sometimes you can get by just doing a couple of tests, while other times you will need more than usual. When you are insulin-dependent, checking your sugar level in the morning will let you know how much insulin you need at night.

The same testing schedule applies to Type 2 diabetics who need insulin. As a Type 2 diabetic you might not need to check your blood sugar regularly; your doctor will determine what kind of testing regimen you should follow. Type 2 diabetics who take medication or are on a special diet should check their blood sugar level once or twice a week. Take the test before a meal or one and a half hours after a meal. Once or twice a month, do a 24-hour profile, measuring the level of blood sugar before every meal.

Glycated Hemoglobin (A1C) Test

One of the best ways to determine your normal range blood sugar level is performing the glycated hemoglobin or A1C test. Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells, and the test measures the percentage of blood sugar that is in the hemoglobin. High blood sugar levels produce more glycated hemoglobin, or HbA1C; it is produced from a chemical reaction between glucose and hemoglobin in the blood. The test shows the average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. HbA1C levels of 6.5% or less are considered good, and levels between 6.5% and 7.5% show you have fair control of your diabetes. If your numbers are higher, talk to your doctor to find out why you have high blood glucose levels.

Watch this video and know about how  HbA1c measures and control diabetes.

Managing Diabetes

After getting over the initial news of being diagnosed with diabetes, what you will come to understand is that you can manage it and live with the condition. Checking your blood sugar levels as often as your doctor recommends helps to manage diabetes. Information is key to successfully living with diabetes, whether it is keeping track of your blood test results or being aware of the latest treatment available for the condition.



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