The amount of glucose in the blood of a human (or animal) is referred to as either the “blood glucose level” or “blood sugar concentration.” With a healthy pancreas, the human body maintains an ideal blood sugar range by releasing insulin, a hormone which helps the body utilize the glucose in food. If the blood sugar level is either too high or too low, it can be a sign of a possible medical condition.
What Is Normal Blood Sugar Range?
Normal Blood Sugar Chart
Fasting blood sugar
Generally speaking, a normal blood sugar is 100mg/dL when you have not eaten for at least eight hours. This is referred to as your fasting blood sugar.
Blood sugar after eating
When you have eaten within the last two hours, a normal blood sugar reading is less than 140 mg/dL.
Every person is different, but before usual meals, a non-diabetic’s blood sugar should be around 70 to 80 mg/dL. But depending on the individual, values of 60 to 90 may be normal as well. Note that blood sugar level is also the lowest before meals.
Low Blood Sugar Level
For a non-diabetic, blood sugar that is too low is generally anything under 60 mg/dL, even after not having eaten in over eight hours. Again, it depends on the person, but 60 mg/dL is the general rule of thumb. Dropping any lower than this can be dangerous. Fortunately, the body tends to regulate itself and stays above this level. When you go a long time without eating, such as overnight, the liver will convert fat and muscle into sugar, preventing the blood sugar from falling too low.
High Blood Sugar Level
For a non-diabetic, blood sugar that is too high is anything over 200 mg/dL after having eaten a full meal within the prior two hours. Again, every human body is different, but 200 mg/dL is a good rule of thumb to follow.A fasting blood sugar level between 100-125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes. If it's 126 mg/dL or higher, you have diabetes.
For Diabetic Adults
For a diabetic adult, “normal” or target blood sugar range is as follows in the blood sugar chart:
Blood Sugar Timing
Less than 100
Before a usual meal
Within 1-2 hours after a meal
Less than 180
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
As explained above and in the normal blood sugar chart, if your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range, you may be suffering from hypoglycemia. When this happens, the following symptoms may occur:
- Pale skin
- Heart palpitation
- Tingling sensation around the mouth
If the hypoglycemia is not treated, further symptoms can include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Visual peculiarities, such as blurred or double vision
- Abnormal behavior
- Appearance as if intoxicated
If hypoglycemia is suspected, your blood sugar level should be tested immediately.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms
Symptoms of blood sugar above the normal blood sugar range can differ, depending on the severity of the high blood sugar level. If the blood sugar level is “mild to moderate” or 200 mg/dL to 350 mg/dL, the following symptoms may occur:
- Weight loss
- Increased feeling of hunger
- Increased feeling of being thirsty
- Increased urination
If the blood sugar level is “moderate to high” or anything above 350 mg/dL, the following symptoms may occur:
- Drowsiness or trouble waking up
- Extreme or constant feelings of thirst
- Flushed skin
- Dry skin
- Hot skin
- Rapid breathing
- Quicken heart rate, but weak pulse
- Breath has an alcoholic or fruity flavor
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of consciousness
How to Measure Blood Sugar Levels
Anyone of the below listed individuals are advised to check their blood sugar levels and make sure they are within normal range:
- Pregnant women
- Anyone taking insulin
- Anyone who has a history or high or low blood sugar levels
- Anyone suffering from any of the above referenced high or low blood sugar symptoms
- Anyone who has high ketones due to high blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar can be checked with a blood glucose meter. There are many different styles and brands (please check the specific device’s owner’s manual for specifics), but most are used in the following way:
1. Wash your hands.
2. Insert a test strip into the meter.
3. Prick your finger with a lancing device so that a small drop of blood forms.
- You may also be able to use a fleshy part of your hand or arm
- If using your finger, try to prick the edge of your fingertip to avoid having a sore spot on the very tip of your finger.
4. Touch the edge of the test strip with the small drop of blood so that the test strip “sucks up” the drop of blood through capillary action.
5. Wait for the blood glucose meter to provide a reading, usually in a mg/dL format.