What’s an Ideal Blood Sugar Level?

A Layman's Guide To Blood Sugar Levels
A Layman’s Guide To Blood Sugar Levels

You want your blood sugar level to be as close as possible to that of someone who does not have diabetes or any other condition that affects blood sugar levels. Your doctor should tell you what your target blood sugar level is, and what you should do if your blood sugar falls outside a given range.

As a guide, someone with Type 2 diabetes should have a blood glucose level of 4-7mmol/l before meals, and less than 8.5mmol/l two hours after a meal. Pregnant women should have a fasting blood glucose level below 5.3mmol/l. The measurement mmol/l stands for millimoles per litre, which measures the concentration of a substance in a liquid.

How to Check Your Blood Sugar Level

Blood sugar levels are checked by measuring a small sample of blood. There are two ways to test your blood sugar levels: continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) or using a blood glucose meter.

Continuous glucose monitoring uses a small device worn under the skin. It measures blood sugar every few minutes and transmits the data to a display. You may be able to see your results in real time, or you may have to download them to see your historical numbers. A real-time CGM will alert you of a precipitous spike or decline in your blood sugar level.

CGM allows you to continuously track your blood sugar levels, even during the night. You can see when your level is starting to go up, so you can take action sooner and possibly prevent a spike. CGM will alert you to a spike even at a time when you don’t typically test. If you use insulin, you may be able to tailor your dosing to keep your sugar more level over the course of the day.

Using a blood glucose meter is a more traditional way to test your blood sugar, and some people prefer it to CGM. There are many different meters on the market, so consult with your doctor about which meter is right for you. Be sure you understand how to operate the meter correctly, as incorrect operation can provide incorrect results.

Understanding what blood sugar levels are, what your target level is, and how to read your level is critical to managing your diabetes or hypoglycemia.