Diabetes: Blood Sugar Levels

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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).

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.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest the following A1c and blood glucose ranges as a general guide.footnote 1, footnote 2, footnote 3, footnote 4

  • Children of any age with type 2 diabetes and most adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (non-pregnant)
    • A1c: Less than 7.0%
    • Before meals: 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
    • 1 to 2 hours after meals: Less than 180 mg/dL
  • Youth (younger than 18 years old) with type 1 diabetes
    • A1c: Less than 7.5%
    • Before meals: 90 to 130 mg/dL
    • Bedtime and overnight: 90 to 150 mg/dL
  • Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant
    • A1c: Less than 6.0%
    • Before meals, bedtime, and overnight: 60 to 99 mg/dL
    • 1 to 2 hours after meals: 100 to 129 mg/dL or lower
  • Women who have gestational diabetes
    • Before meals: 95 mg/dL or less
    • 1 to 2 hours after meals: 120 to 140 mg/dL or lower

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References

Citations

  1. American Diabetes Association (2015). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2015. Diabetes Care, 38(Suppl 1): S1–S93.
  2. Inzucchi SE, et al. (2012). Management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes: A patient-centered approach. Diabetes Care, 35(6): 1364–1379.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics (2013). Clinical Practice Guideline: Management of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 131(2): 364–382. Also available online: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/2/364.full.html.
  4. Chiang JL, et al. (2014). Type 1 diabetes through the life span: A position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care, 37(7): 2034–2051. DOI: 10.2337/dc14-1140. Accessed July 21, 2014.

Other Works Consulted

  • American Diabetes Association (2015). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2015. Diabetes Care, 38(Suppl 1): S1–S93.
  • Inzucchi SE, et al. (2012). Management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes: A patient-centered approach. Diabetes Care, 35(6): 1364–1379.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofFebruary 17, 2015