Is Your Blood Sugar in the Normal Range?

By age 45, you should have your blood sugar level tested. If this test is outside the normal range, you could be at risk for diabetes.

normal blood sugar range

What should you do if your fasting glucose is not within the normal blood sugar range?

Blood sugar is also called blood glucose. It is a measurement of the amount of sugar in your blood. This measurement is found by doing a blood test, usually after an 8-hour fast. It is important to know this number because it tells your doctor or if you are at risk for diabetes or if you may have diabetes. [1-3]

Why Is Glucose Important?

Glucose is the sugar that your body uses for energy. You get glucose from foods called carbohydrates. These include fruits, vegetables, and grains as well as sugar added to foods. Your body stores some glucose to release when you need energy. [1]

In order for your cells to use glucose, it has to move from your blood into your cells. For that you need the hormone called insulin. Insulin comes from your pancreas. If your pancreas does not make enough insulin or if the insulin does not work properly, your blood sugar goes up. [1]

High blood sugar, called hyperglycemia, may be the first sign of type 2 diabetes. Even before type 2 diabetes, you may have an elevated blood sugar called prediabetes. Diagnosing diabetes or prediabetes is important because the sooner you start treatment, the more likely you can prevent the long-term damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels, and prevent complications of diabetes like heart attacks and strokes. [3]

When Should You Have Blood Sugar Checked?

You can have prediabetes or diabetes for many years without having any symptoms. During this time hyperglycemia can be causing damage that could be prevented with treatment. For this reason, the American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone should have their blood sugar level check at age 45. [3]

If you have risk factors for diabetes or prediabetes, you should have your blood sugar checked before age 45. Risk factors include: [1-4]

  • Being overweight
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure

For women, having a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome or having had diabetes during pregnancy are also risk factors. Your race may be a risk factor along with your blood lipid profile. Talk to your doctor about your risk for diabetes and prediabetes. [1-4]

When doctors check you for a problem before you have any symptoms it is called a screening test. The best screening test for high sugar levels is the fasting blood sugar test. This blood test, also called fasting plasma glucose, is done after you have been fasting for 8 hours. Glucose is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). This is the normal range: [1,2]

  • 70 to 90 mg/dL is normal. If your fasting blood glucose is normal, your doctor may repeat the test in one to three years.
  • 100 to 125 mg/dL is called prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose.
  • 126 mg/dL may be diabetes.

If your blood sugar is outside the normal range, your doctor may repeat your fasting blood sugar or do other tests to find out if you have diabetes or prediabetes. [1-4] Although it is much less common than hyperglycemia, your blood sugar may also be below the normal range, less than 70 mg/dL, called hypoglycemia. Causes of hypoglycemia include too much insulin, hormone disorders, and liver disease. [1]

The Importance of Screening for Blood Sugar

It is estimated that by 2025 almost 10 percent of Americans will have type 2 diabetes. [3] But right now, about one out of three people have prediabetes. Having prediabetes means you are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and stroke. Over 80 percent of people living with prediabetes do not know they have it, which is why knowing your blood sugar range is so important. [4]

The good news is that if you have the test and your doctor tells you that you have prediabetes, there is still time to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, people with prediabetes that start a lifestyle change program may cut their risk of diabetes by about 60 percent. [4]

The two most important lifestyle changes are weight loss and exercise, and they are not that hard do. If you are overweight, you should lose about 5 to 7 percent of your body weight, about 10 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds. Exercising for 150 minutes per week is the other key. You can get there with a brisk walk for 30 minutes on five days out of your week. [4]

If you have reached age 45 or you have risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes, it is time to find out your blood sugar number. If your number is too high, now is the time to work with your doctor to get it back in the normal range. Lifestyle changes and sometimes medications may be needed. [1-4] There are also natural therapies and dietary approaches for lowering blood sugar.

See below for more information:

 

Sources

  1. Cleveland Clinic, Blood Glucose Test, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/12363-blood-glucose-test
  2. American Association for Clinical Chemistry, Glucose Tests, https://labtestsonline.org/tests/glucose-tests
  3. American Diabetes Association, Screening for Diabetes, https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/suppl_1/s21
  4. CDC, Prediabetes, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html

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Chris Iliades, MD

Chris Iliades has an MD degree and 15 years of experience as a freelance writer. Based in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, his byline has appeared regularly on many health and medicine … Read More

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Comments Comments Policy
  • And, if a person who has never been overweight, always exercised and eaten healthily, including following intermittent fasting for 4 years, gets a ‘prediabetic’ diagnosis, goes LCHF for 6 months and STILL gets the same HBA1c result, then what?

  • I have recently been diagnosed as diabetic due to high A1C results. In the recent past, I was found to have low blood sugar. I have fast onset low blood sugar symptoms that come on without warning and are nearly debilitating when they occur. Today I had one such episode of low blood sugar symptoms and immediately checked my blood sugar while the symptoms were happening. The test had a result of 104 which in the diabetic circles is considered high. I drank a soda and the symptoms went away. My symptoms were; sweating, very weak, shaking light headed and short of breath. As you can see, my symptoms in no way resemble symptoms of high blood sugar, and nearly mirror the symptoms of low blood sugar.Can anyone explain this to me? I am confused.

  • “If your fasting blood sugar is above 85 or 90 mg/dl, don’t panic”… Why “85 or 90”? Which is it? If 85 then why mention 90 since 86 would be a warning? If 90 why mention 85 since everything below 90 would be OK? Poor.

  • I had one A1C of 6.5.Dr wanted me to go on Metaforin.I refused and doing diet.I am 77 very active .I am trying very hard to follow correct diet now.Before I know I ate lots of carbs choc and cookies I stopped all this rt at Christmas.Tryingvery hard to stay below 2,000 cal a day and limiting carbs.I have book I am following and trying to add veg or salad and 4ozs fruit twice a day.My fasting glucose are running 80to85 daily

  • Learn F., heart disease is the #1 killer of people in the modern world. By far. Diabetes or blood sugar metabolism issues are shaping up to be the #1 cause of heart disease. Connect the dots. Be afraid! Some individuals have nothing to be afraid of, their genetics allow them to eat what they want and not suffer issues with high blood sugar and heart disease. Other individuals, like myself, apparently have issues tolerating carbs and sugars….the only reason I know this is that i had a calcium scan of my heart which shows relatively high levels of coronary artery blockage for someone my age, (53). This despite my weight of 150 lbs, active lifestyle, avoidance of fast food, etc. I’ve spent two years trying to figure out what the cause of this might be, and by far my best suspect is an inability to properly metabolize carbs and sugars. However I would never know this with normal testing, since most medical docs have generally the same attitude as you…..They do not see any reason to be concerned that my A1hc number is right at the max for “normal” and my fasting blood glucose is right at the top range of “normal”. Why would it be this high? Both numbers used to be in the lower range of normal. So, in my opinion this is a very important issue for a lot of people, and unfortunately most of those people either don’t know it is important, or they do not care.

  • I have ranged 5.4-5.8 A1C for many years. Glucose always in normal range on labs. In 2014 normal A1C changed from under 6 to under 5.6. So I was told I’m prediabetic. I have idopatic Gastroparesis and idiopathic neuropathy. Just recently I was told that even though I technically don’t have diabetes I have damage from years of being prediabetic. I never knew this was possible nor did my previous doctors evidently. So be aware.

  • “You can have “prediabetes” all your life and never develop diabetes. Stop scaring people. Irresponsible.”

    This is true. It’s a pretty meaningless term for a lot of people. I tested my BG for one day, these were the results:
    fasting: 103
    1hr PP: 97
    2hr PP: 90
    random: 94
    before meal: 90
    1hr PP: 88
    2hr PP: 90

    Average: 93
    So “prediabetic” fasting number with every other number lower. Total calorie in take for the day – 4,100.

  • “So I was told I’m prediabetic. I have idopatic Gastroparesis and idiopathic neuropathy. Just recently I was told that even though I technically don’t have diabetes I have damage from years of being prediabetic. I never knew this was possible nor did my previous doctors evidently. So be aware.”

    You still can’t prove that your neuropathy is being caused by blood sugar. At the numbers you posted, it likely isn’t. I have idiopathic neuropathy with lower BG than you, and also have a range of auto-immune conditions, which have been concluded as the likely cause. I have celiac disease too. Neuropathy is often caused by Vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency as well.

  • After having an attack and you bring everything back to normal. You don’t are tired and want to sleep,,should you

  • I am so confused by all this. My fasting blood sugar is consistently in th 90’s, occasionally in 100’s and very rarely below 90. A1C is normal (high end). But all of this seems concerning as my mother passed away at 58 from diabetes complications as well as other family had type 2 diabetes.

    I work out 5 days a week, eat very well with very occasional processed carbs or sugar. Not sure what else I could do to lower these numbers.

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