What is a normal blood sugar level?
Blood glucose level is the amount of sugar in your blood. It is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Fasting blood sugar level is the amount of sugar in your blood after you have not eaten for 8 hours. As per American Diabetes Association, the following are the normal levels of sugar in the blood.
Fasting normal blood sugar
Normal level of sugar without diabetes: 70–99 mg/dl (3.9–5.5 mmol/L)
Levels recommended by ADA for a person with diabetes: 80–130 mg/dl (4.4–7.2 mmol/L)
Normal blood sugar 2 hours after meals
Normal sugar levels for a person without diabetes: Less than 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L)
Levels recommended by ADA for a person with diabetes: Less than 180 mg/dl (10.0 mmol/L)
Random blood sugar levels without diabetes: Less than 5.7%
Levels recommended by ADA for a person with diabetes: Less than 7.0%
High sugar levels in the blood and low sugar levels in the blood are two separate conditions. They can affect different people in different ways.
High and low blood sugar levels
High blood sugar levels are called hyperglycemia. It means that your body has too much glucose (sugar), leading to dangerous complications of diabetes, kidney failure, and heart disease.
Low blood sugar levels are called hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar levels are when your body has very little glucose to fuel your cells.
What do sugar levels in the blood indicate?
A high blood sugar level indicates your body is not getting enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps keep your blood sugar level normal.
When you have high blood sugar, you can develop a condition called diabetes mellitus or “sugar diabetes”. High blood sugar levels are also associated with obesity and conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Low blood sugar levels indicate the body is not getting enough glucose from food or drink. Diabetes occurs when your body fails to produce enough insulin or does not use insulin effectively. If you have diabetes, you must take insulin to prevent low blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar can cause fainting, dizziness, shakiness, numbness, confusion, and difficulty breathing.
The most common causes of low blood sugar in active adults who do not have diabetes are not eating enough food or drinking excessive fluids—especially alcohol and caffeine. Low blood sugar may also occur if you are taking certain medications.
When should I start medication for my sugar levels?
The most common type of diabetes is called Type 1 diabetes, an immune system disease that affects beta cells in the pancreas.
In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces some insulin but cannot use it properly. This causes blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise, leading to long-term complications.
The general recommendation by experts is to start medications for your sugar levels if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
If you have diabetes, your doctor will probably ask you to take medication to lower your blood sugar. The goal is for your blood sugar level to stay normal and not become too high or too low.
People with Type 2 diabetes can take medications to control their blood sugar levels. However, people with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections or other forms of medicine to control their blood sugar levels.
How important is medication for diabetes?
Each person with diabetes has a different type of treatment. Some people need insulin injections or insulin pumps to help manage their diabetes, while others can control their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise. However, even those who take good care of themselves still need medication to treat their blood sugar levels.
Diabetes medications can help prevent many complications associated with the disease, such as kidney damage, heart attack, stroke, and blindness.
Types of Medication for Diabetes
There are several types of diabetes medications you can use to lower your blood sugar. Some examples of different types of diabetes medications are:
Insulin: If you have Type 2 diabetes, you need to take insulin daily to help your body use glucose (sugar) for energy. You may use one type of insulin or several types.
Sulfonylureas and glinides: These different types of medicines are sometimes used in combination for people with diabetes, as most doctors prescribe using them together for best results.
Metformin (Glucophage): Metformin can be used with other oral and injected medicines for healthy lifestyle changes for patients with mild-to-moderate diabetes (patients with an HbA1c below 8%). It is not recommended for those who require frequent injections as it may reduce the effectiveness of their intravenous therapy.
Tolbutamide (Orinase): This medication lowers glucose levels in your body. It is usually taken twice a day with meals.
In general, the American Diabetes Association recommends starting insulin for Type 1 diabetes within the first three months of diagnosis or at a time when you have symptoms of high blood sugar.
If you have Type 2 diabetes and are taking multiple pills to control your blood sugar, it is best to start insulin when you are stable on multiple medications.
Normal blood sugar levels serve as a benchmark for persons with diabetes or those at risk for the condition and hoping to control their blood sugar levels. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about what occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high or low. We will respond to inquiries and give you individualised advice on how to resume a healthy diet and way of life.