High Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, you can find out if your blood sugar level is high by having a blood sugar test.
You may have regular tests by your care team or GP surgery, or you may have tests you can do at home.
|Type of test||High level|
|Test done by a health professional to check your blood sugar level over the last 2 or 3 months||48 mmol/mol or over|
|Test done by a health professional after not eating for a few hours||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done after waking up or before eating||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done at any other time||Over 11 mmol/L|
Is There Anything Else I Should Know About A Blood Glucose Test
If you have diabetes, you may need to do blood sugar testing at home every day to help manage your blood glucose levels. There are two ways to do this:
- Blood glucose meters require you to prick your finger with a small device called a lancet. You apply a drop of blood to a test strip and insert it into a small, electronic glucose meter, which measures the glucose is in your blood.
- Continuous glucose monitors use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. Every few minutes, the sensor measures glucose levels in fluids between your cells. If your glucose is too high or too low, you use a blood glucose meter to check your blood levels before making changes to raise or lower your glucose level.
Random Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time youre tested. You can take this test at any time and dont need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
|140 mg/dL or below||N/A|
*Results for gestational diabetes can differ. Ask your health care provider what your results mean if youre being tested for gestational diabetes.Source: American Diabetes Association
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones , which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.
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Can I Use A Fingerstick To Test Whether I Have Normal Glucose Levels Or Diabetes
The HbA1C test, 2-hour post-meal blood sugar, and fasting blood sugar tests are crucial for detecting and diagnosing diabetes. However, its crucial to prevent self-diagnosing diabetes by performing a fingerstick with a home blood glucose meter if you suspect you have the disease and do not have a normal blood sugar level. Diabetes is diagnosed using laboratories standards that cant be obtained with a fingerstick.
You should request a laboratory test from your doctors office for this purpose. However, if you checked your blood sugar with someone elses meter and it came up high, like 200 mg/dL or more , that could be a sign of diabetes. In that scenario, I would strongly advise scheduling an immediate appointment with your doctor.
Additionally, its crucial to consult your endocrinologist to determine how frequently to check your blood sugar levels using tests like the HbA1C or fasting blood sugar. Additionally, be aware of the implications of your findings and your HbA1C and blood sugar goals.
Your endocrinologist may advise additional testing if your findings are above normal and you have never been diagnosed with diabetes, prediabetes, or insulin resistance.
Treatment options might include dietary and exercise regimens tailored to diabetics, weight loss, and regular exercise. You might need to start taking diabetic drugs, including insulin, when lifestyle modifications fail, though this is typically the final option.
When To Check Blood Sugar Levels
Check your child’s blood sugar level at the following times:
- Before meals and bedtime, a minimum of four times a day.
- If you suspect your child has a low blood sugar level.
- Before and after your child exercises.
- When your child is ill.
- Two hours after the start of a meal, if results from before the meal don’t match HbA1c.
- During the night. This is particularly important if your child had a low blood sugar level during the day, exercised more than usual, made a change in the insulin dose or has been ill.
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How To Track Blood Sugar Levels
Blood sugar vacillates throughout the day due to many factors, says Megan Wolf, a registered dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The preferred way to keep track of it? Whatever works best for you. This may include journaling numbers into a logbook or typing blood sugar readings into an app, says Wolf. A lot of my patients find continuous glucose monitors helpful. Glucometers and continuous glucose monitoring systems store glucose data that can be uploaded to a computer. Then the patient can review their blood sugar data on their device or keep a detailed written log.
Can I Check My Own Blood Sugar
You can do blood sugar level check by doing a finger-prick test, or by using an electronic blood sugar monitor called a flash glucose monitor or CGM. You can do this several times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.
Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.
And theres also something called an HbA1c, which is a blood test to measure your average blood sugar level over the last three months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.
High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels
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Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
When Should I Call My Doctor
Its important to monitor diabetes very closely if youre sick. Even a common cold can be dangerous if it interferes with your insulin and blood sugar levels. Make a sick day plan with your healthcare provider so you know how often to check your blood sugar and what medications to take.
Contact your provider right away if you experience:
- Confusion or memory loss.
- Nausea and vomiting for more than four hours.
- Problems with balance or coordination.
- Severe pain anywhere in your body.
- Trouble moving your arms or legs.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Type 2 diabetes is a disease where your body doesnt make enough insulin and cant use sugar the way it should. Sugar, or glucose, builds up in your blood. High blood sugar can lead to serious health complications. But Type 2 diabetes is manageable. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you manage your blood sugar. You may also need medication or insulin. If you have Type 2 diabetes, you should monitor your blood sugar at home regularly and stay in close communication with your healthcare provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/25/2021.
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How The Test Is Done
You can buy a testing kit from a pharmacy without a prescription. Your provider can help you choose the right kit, set up the meter, and teach you how to use it.
Most kits have:
- Test strips
- Small needles that fit into a spring-loaded plastic device
- A logbook for recording your numbers that can be downloaded and viewed at home or at your provider’s office
To do the test, prick your finger with the needle and place a drop of blood on a special strip. This strip measures how much glucose is in your blood. Some monitors use blood from areas of the body other than the fingers, reducing discomfort. The meter shows your blood sugar results as a number on a digital display. If your vision is poor, talking glucose meters are available so that you don’t have to read the numbers.
Be aware that no meter or strip is accurate 100% of the time. If your blood sugar value is unexpectedly high or low, measure again with a new strip. Do not use strips if the container has been left open or if the strip has gotten wet.
When Should I Call A Doctor
You can treat mild hypoglycemia with a glucose tablet, sugary snack, or drink, such as fruit juice. If you or someone else has severe symptoms of hypoglycemia, its an emergency, and you should seek immediate medical care. If someone has passed out and you know how, you should use a glucogen shot to restore healthier blood sugar levels. Do not use insulin.They should wake up within about 15 minutes.
Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include:
If you have vision impairment, a family history of diabetes your doctor doesn’t already know about, or potential symptoms of diabetes, you should discuss your concerns with a healthcare professional.
People who have or suspect hypoglycemia unawareness should contact their doctor to screen for hypoglycemia. Early diagnosis and immediate diabetes management are key to reducing potential diabetes complications and increasing quality of life.
You may also want to call your doctor if they have already diagnosed you with type 2 diabetes and treatment isnt improving your symptoms. This is especially important if you keep experiencing inaccurate readings or cannot get your blood glucose back in a normal range.
Don’t make any major changes to your daily routine or diabetes management plan until you get confirmation from your diabetes care team. Everyone is different, so they will know the best way for you to move forward.
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Not Understanding Your Meter
Todays glucose meters are more sophisticated in their accuracy yet easier to use than ever before. Still, you need to check your meters accuracy periodically and you should follow the manufacturers instructions for doing this correctly. You also need to know the fine points on how to use it and care for it, and what the error messages mean.
The solution for better diabetes control: If youre confused about the ins and outs of your meter, ask for help from your doctor, diabetes educator, or pharmacist.
A Need To Update Older Guidelines
Aldasouqi also points out that specialists currently recognize that eating before undergoing a blood cholesterol test is unlikely to affect relevant measurements. Therefore, having a meal before going in for a test may actually be better than fasting and potentially losing consciousness on the way to the laboratory.
He adds that the idea of fasting before a blood test comes from antiquated sets of guidelines from the 1970s, which specialists in Canada and most European countries no longer use.
For this reason, he says that United States-based specialists may want to consider revising their own guidelines to better fit the needs of their patients.
According to the studys findings, only 35 percent of participants had received advice about how to prevent a FEEHD event before going in for a blood cholesterol test.
We encourage patients who receive orders for a lab test, explains Aldasouqi, to ask their doctor if fasting is really necessary, and if so, how they should handle their diabetes medications during the fasting period to account for the changes in their blood sugar levels.
FEEHD is overlooked in clinical practice, and we aim to bring this problem to light and further educate doctors and patients about the consequences of fasting while on diabetes medications, he adds.
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Jillian Kubala is a Registered Dietitian based in Westhampton, NY. Jillian holds a masters degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University School of Medicine as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition science. Aside from writing for Healthline Nutrition, she runs a private practice based on the east end of Long Island, NY, where she helps her clients achieve optimal wellness through nutritional and lifestyle changes. Jillian practices what she preaches, spending her free time tending to her small farm that includes vegetable and flower gardens and a flock of chickens. Reach out to her through her website or on .
Leave Sugary Beverages On The Shelf
Sugar-sweetened beverages are a one-way ticket to high blood sugar. Eliminating or drinking fewer of them can lower blood sugar, as well as helps with weight loss and maintenance, says Asterino-McGeean. Save soda pop and juice for when you need to treat low blood sugar.
Drinks high in sugar include:
- Sweet tea.
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Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their blood sugar every day. Others need to check it many times a day.
Usual times to test your blood sugar are before meals and at bedtime. Your provider may ask you to check your blood sugar 2 hours after a meal or even sometimes in the middle of the night. Ask your provider when you should check your blood sugar.
Other times to check your blood sugar may be:
- If you are having symptoms of low blood sugar
- After you eat out, particularly if you have eaten foods you don’t normally eat
- If you feel sick
- Before or after you exercise
- If you have been under a lot of stress
- If you eat too much or skip meals or snacks
- If you are taking new medicines, took too much insulin or diabetes medicine by mistake, or took your medicine at the wrong time
- If your blood sugar has been higher or lower than normal
- If you are drinking alcohol
How Do I Take Care Of My Blood Glucose Meter
- Set the date and time when you get a new meter.
- Make sure the date and time are right each time you use your meter.
- Use the control solution as needed. This will let you know the meter and test strips are working right. Use it:
- When you get a new meter.
- When you get new test strips.
- When you think that the meter is not giving you the right blood glucose number.
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Knowing Your Blood Sugar Level
To maintain control over your blood sugar, you will need to test it regularly. Depending on what your doctor tells you, this may mean testing up to five times per day:
- Testing your fasting glucose first thing in the morning before you eat
- Testing one to two hours after breakfast
- Testing one to two hours after lunch
- Testing one to two hours after dinner
- Testing right before you go to bed
Based on your results, you can tell if your fasting glucose is on target and if your levels are on target one hour after eating and two hours after eating .
Moreover, if you keep track of your blood sugar in a journal, including information about your diet and exercise, you can begin to get a grasp on how certain foods or activities affect your blood sugar and make adjustments to keep yourself on target.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Most people have symptoms of low blood sugar when their blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dL. When your blood sugar is low, your body gives out signs that you need food. Common early symptoms of low blood sugar include the following:
- Feeling weak
Late symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- Feeling confused
- Being unable keep your mind on one subject
- Numbness in your mouth and tongue
- Passing out
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Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.