Recommended Blood Glucose Numbers

What are the Right Numbers?

Depending on where you look, recommended blood glucose levels can vary. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) numbers differ from the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) guidelines. The ACE recommendations are more strict than the ADA's. How do you know which to follow? Ask your healthcare provider which goals are right for you. The table below compares the two sets of guidelines for blood glucose pre and post meals as well as hemoglobin A1C.


How Many Times a Day Should you Check Your Blood Glucose Levels?

Checking your blood glucose levels often throughout the day will help you to figure out how to keep good control. You'll be able to pattern manage and learn how to identify how food, exercise, and stress affects your blood sugar control. First thing in the morning before breakfast, two hours after a meal and before bed are good times to test. Other recommended times include before, during and after an exercise session, especially if it is strenuous or if you are feeling like your blood sugar may be low or high. Your certified diabetes educator or health care provider will help you develop a routine that makes sense for you. Typically, people who take insulin or are on other glucose lowering oral medicines that can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should test their blood sugar more often. 

Another Measurement of Blood Sugar-What is the A1C?

A blood test helps you and your doctor monitor your overall glucose control.

It gives an average of the amount of glucose in your blood over a few months' time. It is usually ordered 2 to 4 times a year. If you are newly diagnosed or having trouble maintaining good day-to-day control, it may be ordered more often. The American Diabetes Association Standards of Care suggests: 

  • A reasonable A1C goal for many non-pregnant adults is

  • More stringent A1C goals (A1C of metformin only, long life expectancy, or no significant cardiovascular disease. 

  • Less aggressive glucose control (A1C

Blood Sugar Targets and Other Important Numbers Should be Individualized

Diabetes treatment should be a patient centered approach, taking into consideration many different variables, including things like age, length of diagnosis, other health issues, lifestyle, etc. Some people benefit from having lower targets, while others benefit from having targets that are more lenient. Ask your health care provider where you stand and what targets would work best for you. The following chart is a general guideline for most people with type 2 diabetes. Keep in mind that this values do not represent targets for children or women with gestational diabetes. 

Comparing Values from the ADA and the ACE
Before Meals80-130 mg/dl
1-2 hours After Meals


American Diabetes Association. All About Blood Glucose.  

American Diabetes Association. Standards in Diabetes Care 2017 Jan; 40 (Supplement 1). 

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology. Consensus Statement by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology on the Comprehensive Type 2 Diabetes Management Algorith-2017 Executive Summary.



Continue Reading