Many people are not aware of what the normal blood sugar range is for their age group. Furthermore, they do not know the dangers of when they get out of the normal range for blood sugar. The normal range may differ according to age range, so it is important to know the healthy ranges as well as the non-ideal ones. Furthermore, you need to know a little something about testing to make sure your blood sugar is within an acceptable range and how to prepare for blood sugar tests. You don’t have to be a doctor to know the facts!
What Are the Normal Ranges for Blood Sugar Levels?
The normal blood sugar range depends upon what type of test you take. The random test can be taken at any time of day. The fasting test is taken after you have fasted for at least eight hours. However, the glucose tolerance test involves fasting with a solution of water and sugar. There is also the two-hour postprandial blood sugar test that is also contingent upon meals.
What Is a Normal Fasting Blood Sugar Reading?
With the fasting blood glucose test, you are not allowed any foods or liquids eight hours before testing. A normal reading should come in at less than 100 mg/dl. If you get a reading of more than 126 mg/dl after two consecutive readings, you are diagnosed as a diabetic. This level has been lowered from 140 mg/dl after the American Diabetes Association lowered the level in 1997.
What Is a Normal Random Blood Glucose Reading?
If you do a random blood glucose test, you do not have to fast and can take the test at any time of day. However, there is a difference in what is considered a healthy blood sugar range. With a random test, the normal blood sugar range should be between 80 and 120 mg/dl when waking and before meals and in the low to mid 100s at bedtime. If you get a reading of at least 200 mg/dl, then you are considered a diabetic. You also have other signs and symptoms to consider including excessive thirst, excessive urination, fatigue or unexpected weight loss.
What Is a Normal Oral Glucose Tolerance Test Reading?
The oral glucose tolerance test requires fasting, but it is an overnight fast. With this test, you check your blood sugar levels over the course of several hours after drinking a solution of water and sugar. The normal blood sugar range will be in the 140 mg/dl and 200 mg/dl range for people age 50 or younger, less than 150 mg/dl for those between 50 and 60, and less than 160 mg/dl for ages 60 and older. A person who does not have diabetes will have a blood sugar level that rises and falls quickly after consuming the solution, but the levels will rise higher than normal and not fall as quickly for someone with diabetes.
A reading of less than 140 mg/dl is the ideal blood sugar range after two hours have passed. However, within those two hours, the normal blood sugar range should be lower than 200 mg/dl. If your reading is more than 200 mg/dl, you will be diagnosed with diabetes.
What Does Low Blood Sugar Levels Mean?
While higher levels of blood sugar can be an indication of diabetes, there are also dangers when the levels are lower than normal. Low levels can indicate insulinoma, a tumor that occurs with the production of high levels of insulin. However, low blood sugar may also indicate other issues such as Addison’s disease, eating disorders like anorexia, liver disease, malnutrition, a tumor in the pituitary gland or a decrease in thyroid hormone levels.
What Should I Do Before Testing?
Of course, if you will be doing a fasting test or a two-hour postprandial test to check for a normal blood sugar range, you will need to mind when you last ate. The fasting test may be best after an overnight fast so that you are not tempted to eat over the eight hour period of time. However, if you are in immediate need, you may go forth with a postprandial test since you will only need to abstain from food and drink for two hours.
You should also avoid drinking alcohol before testing in order to get an accurate reading of the normal blood sugar range. Refraining from smoking and caffeine is also necessary. You also need to be mindful of any medications you take since they can affect the results of your test. This is especially true for medications such as birth control pills, pills used to treat high blood pressure and various other medications.
Emotional stress and illness also have effects on the blood sugar levels, so keep this in mind when you are checking your levels. A normal blood sugar range is important when considering your overall health.