Blood sugar is also known as blood glucose. Glucose plays an important role in the production of energy. Healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise help maintain normal blood glucose levels for adults and children. Those diagnosed with diabetes can also control the glucose levels with the help of diet, exercise and medications. Psychological stress, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, certain medications can affect blood sugar levels. Two antagonistic hormones – insulin and glucagon regulate the amount of glucose in blood.
Tests for Blood Glucose Levels
Normal blood glucose range for adults without diabetes is 70 – 100 mg/dl. Actually, blood sugar levels keep on changing. They are not constant throughout the day. In the morning, low blood glucose levels are noticed while after lunch, glucose levels rise and then they again come down to normal levels. The amount of glucose present in blood is therefore measured at different times. Generally, glucose levels are first measured after fasting (usually overnight) for at least 8 hours. This is known as ‘fasting blood glucose’. Readings for fasting blood glucose levels for adults that lie between 70 to 99 mg/dl (3.9 to 5.5 mmol/l) are considered as normal. 100 mg/dl is considered as normal fasting blood sugar level for children. Glucose level measured two hours after lunch is known as ‘postprandial glucose level’. Blood sample taken at any time during the day is used to check ‘random blood glucose’. Sometimes, doctors ask you to drink a glucose solution and then your blood is taken 4-5 times, every 30 to 60 minutes. This is known as glucose tolerance test. All these tests help diagnose diabetes.
Causes and Symptoms of Diabetes
Slightly high levels indicate higher risk of developing diabetes. This condition is known as prediabetes. Regular check ups help diagnose diabetes in early stage which helps control the disease with the help of modified diet, exercise and medications. Frequent urination, increased wound healing time, increased thirst and strong hunger prangs, blurry vision, frequent infections, weight loss, excessive weakness, changes in skin are some symptoms of diabetes. Obesity, high blood pressure, family history, insulin resistance, low insulin levels, high cholesterol, triglycerides levels, lack of exercise are some of the common factors which can lead to diabetes. Take a look at the following charts.
Blood Sugar Levels Chart for Adults
Blood Sugar Levels Indication
Less than 70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/l) Low fasting blood sugar
70 to 99 mg/dl (3.9 to 5.5 mmol/l) Normal fasting blood sugar for adults
100 to 125 mg/dl (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/l) Impaired fasting glucose (pre-diabetes)
126 mg/dl (7.0 mmol/l) and above in more than one test result Diabetes
about 70-125 mg/dl Normal random blood sugar
about 70-145 mg/dl Normal postprandial blood sugar
Less than 70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/l) Hypoglycemia (Initial Stage)
50 mg/dl (2.8 mmol/l) Hypoglycemia (Fasting)
less than 50 mg/dl (2.8 mmol/l) Insulin Shock
145-200 mg/dl Post meal value suggesting early diabetes
More than 200 mg/dl Post meal value suggesting established diabetes
Low blood sugar levels are known as hypoglycemia while high blood sugar levels are known as hyperglycemia. Take a look at the following chart which describes these conditions in adults and children.
Blood Sugar Level Children Adults
Normal 70 – 100 mg/dL 70 – 140 mg/dL
Low Below 70 mg/dL Below 70 mg/dL
High Over 140 mg/dL Over 180 mg/dL
Those who have normal fasting blood sugar levels may have high postprandial sugar levels. Low glycemic foods are those foods which do not cause severe fluctuations in your blood glucose levels. Garlic, cherries, cinnamon, almonds, avocados, soybeans, baked beans, boiled vegetables, poached fish, lentils, lamb, oysters, chicken, sardines, skimmed milk, whole wheat pasta are examples of some foods that help lower blood sugar levels. Maintaining blood glucose levels within normal range is essential for adults. This helps keep health complications at bay. Proper diet and regular exercise help maintain hormonal balance and thereby the overall health of an individual.