Blood Glucose Levels

The terms ‘blood sugar’ and ‘blood glucose’ both refer to the amount of glucose that is present in the blood. Blood glucose levels are usually expressed in millimoles per litre or mmol/L. A mole is an amount of substance which contains a large amount of molecules or atoms. A millimole is one-thousandth of a mole and a litre measures overall fluid volume.

Usually, people who don’t have diabetes have a stable blood glucose level of 4 – 8 mmol/L.  Spikes in these levels usually occur following meals and reach their lowest in the early morning. For those with diabetes, blood glucose levels fluctuate a lot more.

It is extremely important to properly manage glucose levels. Doing so will help reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications. Good management of blood glucose levels is essential for living the healthiest life possible as a diabetic. To successfully do this, it is essential to know what low, high and normal blood glucose levels are so that they can be managed in the correct way.

It is important to remember that blood glucose levels should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Recommended blood glucose levels come from NICE

Non-Diabetic

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Not applicable Not applicable 5 to 7 mmol/L 4 to 7 mmol/L
4 to 5.9 mmol/L 4 to 7 mmol/L 4 to 7 mmol/L 4 to 7 mmol/L
Under 7.8 mmol/L Under 8.5 mmol/L 5 to 9 mmol/L 5 to 9 mmol/L

Key:

  • Target levels upon waking

  • Target levels before meals

  • Target levels at least 90 minutes after meals

Non-diabetic blood glucose ranges are between 4 and 6 mmol/L when fasting. Levels can reach up to 7.8 mmol/L, usually two hours after eating a meal.

Before meals, diabetic blood glucose ranges are between 4 and 7 mmol/L for those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Following meals, people with type 1 diabetes should be under 9 mmol/L and under 8.5 mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes.

 

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