Diabetes: Blood Sugar Levels

Topic Overview

Keeping your blood sugar in a target range reduces your risk of problems such as diabetic eye disease ( retinopathy ), kidney disease ( nephropathy ), and nerve disease ( neuropathy ).

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) suggests the following A1c and blood glucose ranges as a general guide.

  • Most adults (non-pregnant) 1
    • A1c: 7.0% or less
    • Blood glucose:
      • Fasting and before meals: 4.0 to 7.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L)
      • 2 hours after meals: 5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L or 5.0 to 8.0 mmol/L if A1c targets are not being met
  • Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant 2
    • A1c: 7.0% or less (or as close to 7.0% as possible)
    • Blood glucose:
      • Fasting and before meals: Less than 5.3 mmol/L
      • 1 hour after meals: Less than 7.8 mmol/L
      • 2 hours after meals: Less than 6.7 mmol/L
  • Women with gestational diabetes 2
    • Blood glucose:
      • Fasting and before meals: Less than 5.3 mmol/L
      • 1 hour after meals: Less than 7.8 mmol/L
      • 2 hours after meals: Less than 6.7 mmol/L
  • Most adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes (13 to 18 years old) 3
    • A1c: 7.0% or less
    • Blood glucose:
      • Fasting and before meals: 4.0 to 7.0 mmol/L
      • 2 hours after meals: 5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L
  • School-age children with type 1 diabetes (6 to 12 years old) 3
    • A1c: 7.5% or less
    • Blood glucose:
      • Fasting and before meals: 4.0 to 10.0 mmol/L
  • Toddlers and preschoolers with type 1 diabetes (younger than 6 years old) 3
    • A1c: 8.0% or less
    • Blood glucose:
      • Fasting and before meals: 6.0 to 10.0 mmol/L
  • Children, adolescents, and young adults with type 2 diabetes (up to 18 years old) 4
    • A1c: 7.0% or less

Some people can work toward lower numbers, and some people may need higher goals.

For example, some children and adolescents with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, people who have severe complications from diabetes, people who may not live much longer, or people who have trouble recognizing the symptoms of low blood sugar may have a higher target range.

And some people, such as those who are newly diagnosed with diabetes or who don't have any complications from diabetes, may do better with a lower target range.

Work with your doctor to set your own target blood sugar range. This will help you achieve the best control possible without having a high risk of hypoglycemia.

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References

Citations

  1. Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee (2013). Targets for glycemic control section of Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37(Suppl 1): S31–S34. Also available online: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca.
  2. Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee (2013). Diabetes and pregnancy section of Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37(Suppl 1): S168–S183. Also available online: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca.
  3. Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee (2013). Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents section of Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37(Suppl 1): S153–S162. Also available online: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca.
  4. Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee (2013). Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents section of Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37(Suppl 1): S163–S167. Also available online: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofAugust 6, 2014