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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 7.0% or less for most adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who aren't pregnant. Before meals, the suggested target blood glucose range is 4.0 to 7.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L). At 2 hours after meals, it is lower than 5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L.footnote 1

Children of any age with type 2 diabetes

In general, experts suggest an A1c of 7.0% or less for children of any age who have type 2 diabetes. footnote 2 Your child's doctor may suggest a target blood glucose range for before meals and a different range for after meals.

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

In general, experts suggest an A1c of 7.5% or less for those younger than 18 who have type 1 diabetes. Before meals, the suggested target blood glucose range is 4.0 to 8.0 mmol/L. At 2 hours after meals, the range is 5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L. footnote 3

Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant

In general, experts suggest an A1c of 6.5% or less (6.1% or less if possible) for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who get pregnant. At 1 to 2 hours after meals, the range is 6.7 to 7.8 mmol/L or lower.footnote 4

Women who have gestational diabetes

In general, experts suggest a target blood sugar less than 5.3 mmol/L before meals for women who have gestational diabetes. At 1 to 2 hours after meals, the range is 6.7 to 7.8 mmol/L or lower.footnote 4

References

Citations

  1. Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, et al. (2018). Targets for glycemic control. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(Suppl 1): S42–S46. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2017.10.030. Accessed October 15, 2018.
  2. Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, et al. (2018). Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(Suppl 1): S247–S254. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2017.10.037. Accessed October 15, 2018.
  3. Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, et al. (2018). Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(Suppl 1): S234–S246. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2017.10.036. Accessed October 15, 2018.
  4. Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, et al. (2018). Diabetes and pregnancy. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(Suppl 1): S255–S282. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2017.10.038. Accessed October 15, 2018. [Erratum in Canadian Journal of Diabetes 42(3): 337. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2018.04.006.] Accessed October 12, 2018.

Credits

Current as of: October 2, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
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