Blood sugar levels for diabetics are slightly different from blood sugar levels for people without diabetes. Because a diabetic's blood sugar can vary more than an average person's can, there is a larger range for the diabetic. Doctors consider this range safe for the diabetic; though, all diabetics should strive to keep glucose or blood sugar levels as stable as possible to prevent sugar highs and sugar lows. Keeping stable blood sugar levels requires monitoring blood sugar and watching the intake of carbohydrates.
Blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter and percentage of sugar in the blood. The average milligrams per deciliter for non-diabetics are 70 to 100 mg/dL. After fasting for 14 hours, the measurement is percent. The average is four to five percent. The range for a diabetic is 70 to 120 mg/dL or a percentage of seven or under, after fasting for 14 hours.
Everyone's blood sugar rises after eating. Even a person who is not diabetic may have blood sugar levels as high as 175 mg/dL after a meal. The difference for a non-diabetic is the sugar levels drop to normal faster than the sugar rates of a diabetic. However, a diabetic should try to keep blood sugar levels under 180 mg/dL after a meal. The diabetic measures the blood glucose two hours after starting to eat. Higher levels indicate that the diabetic consumed too many carbohydrates or fatty foods.
Dangerous highs are 240 mg/dL that do not return to normal. When sugar levels are high, the body breaks down fat for fuel. Ketones are the byproduct that is normally removed from your body through your urine. When sugar rises and the ketones are present, the kidneys cannot keep up. Ketones appear in the blood causing the blood to become acidic. The body increases the urine output causing dehydration. Symptoms include vomiting, blurry vision, weakness, confusion and a fruity odor on the breath.
Lows are sugar levels below 70 mg/dL. A diabetic may not feel symptoms with lows under 70 mg/dL until the lows reach 50 mg/dL for a male and 40 mg/dL for a female. Blood sugar lows are caused by too much insulin, not enough food, exercise, alcohol and stress. Symptoms include shakiness, dizziness, confusion, sweatiness, hunger, blurred vision and a tingling around the mouth.
Pre-diabetes is glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic. A fasting test is down to determine pre-diabetes. After fasting for 14 hours, the lab technician draws your blood. If the fasting levels are 100 to 125 mg/dL, you are considered pre-diabetic.