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Diabetes: Blood Sugar Levels

Overview

Keeping your blood sugar in a target range reduces your risk of problems from diabetes. These problems include eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), and nerve disease (neuropathy). If you're pregnant, staying in a target range can also help prevent problems during pregnancy.

Work with your doctor to set your own target blood sugar range. Some people can work toward lower numbers. Other people may need higher goals. For example, people who have severe complications from diabetes may have a higher target range. Those who are newly diagnosed or who don't have any complications from diabetes may do better with a lower target range.

Most adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (not pregnant)

In general, experts suggest an A1c of lower than 7% for most adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who aren't pregnant. Before meals, the suggested target blood glucose range is 80 to 130 mg/dL. At 1 to 2 hours after meals, it is lower than 180 mg/dL.footnote 1

Children of any age with type 2 diabetes

In general, experts suggest an A1c of lower than 7.0% for children of any age who have type 2 diabetes. Before meals, the suggested target blood glucose range is 80 to 130 mg/dL. At 1 to 2 hours after meals, the suggested range is lower than 180 mg/dL.footnote 1

Youth (younger than 18 years old) with type 1 diabetes

In general, experts suggest an A1c of lower than 7.5% for those younger than 18 who have type 1 diabetes. Before meals, the suggested target blood glucose range is 90 to 130 mg/dL. At bedtime and overnight, the suggested range is 90 to 150 mg/dL.footnote 1

Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant

In general, experts suggest an A1c of 6.0% to 7.0% for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who get pregnant. Before meals, the target blood sugar range is less than 95 mg/dL. At 1 to 2 hours after meals, the range is 120 to 140 mg/dL or lower.footnote 1

Women who have gestational diabetes

In general, experts suggest a target blood sugar less than 95 mg/dL before meals for women who have gestational diabetes. At 1 to 2 hours after meals, the suggested range is 120 to 140 mg/dL or lower.footnote 1

References

Citations

  1. American Diabetes Association (2022). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2022. Diabetes Care, 45(Suppl 1): S1–S259. Accessed January 3, 2022.

Credits

Current as of: April 13, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

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