What is a normal blood glucose level for someone with diabetes?

Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
This depends a great deal on the individual. As a general principle, we strive for blood sugar numbers that are as close to normal as possible. In many of my patients, I look for fasting blood glucose levels under 100, and values 2 hours after meals that are around 140 or so. But these are very stringent targets, and hard to achieve for many people. Also, the risk of hypoglycemia is always the factor that limits how much one can lower blood sugar. My general principal is to get the blood sugar as close to normal as possible without causing frequent or severe low sugar reactions. For the majority of people this means hemoglobin A1c values between 6.5 and 7.0, fasting glucose values between around 85 and 130 and 2 hour post-meal values of 140 to 180. These are very general guidelines. Any recommendation for a given person must be individualized.  
Merle Myerson, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Cardiovascular specialist Dr. Merle Myerson explains what your blood glucose levels should be. Watch Dr. Myerson's video for important tips and information about heart health.
Target range is the range of levels between which your blood glucose should stay. (For example, many school-age children have a blood glucose target range of 80 to 150 mg/dL.) Your medical team will tell you what your target range is.
Pauline Shipley, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
An acceptable blood sugar level varies with the individual's personal situation. In general, we look for blood sugars between 80 and 140.
Diabetes can affect how you feel day-to-day. If your blood glucose level is too high or too low, you may not feel well. Both conditions interfere with your daily routine. Keeping your blood glucose in a target range will help you feel your best. Targets suggested by the American Diabetes Association are listed below:
  • When I wake up and before meals: 70 to 130 mg/dl
  • 2 hours after starting a meal: below 180 mg/dl
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
You should keep your blood-sugar levels to less than 100 mg/dL.

The excess sugar in the blood that's caused by diabetes damages the arteries by inactivating a specific substance (phosphokinase, to get technical) that makes it possible for your arteries to smoothly dilate and contract. Without that substance, the risk of holes or cracks appearing at junctions in the arterial walls increases dramatically.

So all of us, not just diabetics, really want to avoid foods that are high in simple sugars and saturated and trans fats like jelly doughnuts. Also steer clear of foods and drinks with high fructose corn syrup.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...
William Lee Dubois
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Quite literally, what’s “normal” depends on who you are. For non-diabetic persons, when looking at “high” numbers, it was long assumed that the body always kept their blood glucose under 100 mg/dL. Now that more and more research is being done on continuous glucose monitoring systems, we see that even non-diabetic folks will sometimes shoot upwards briefly following meals or drinks with heavy carb loads. You know, like when you stop for a 64-ounce Big Gulp, a bag of Doritos, and Ding Dongs on your way home from work (or God forbid, on your way to work). It shouldn’t come as any surprise that a “snack” like this would give even the non-diabetic’s body some trouble.

On the low side, again for non-diabetic folks, being in the high 50s or 60s seems to have no ill effect.

Now if you have diabetes, “normal” is out the window. By definition, having diabetes means normal blood sugar is no longer possible, but the generally accepted target blood glucose levels are around 115 mg/dL fasting with peak excursions after eating at either 150 or 180 mg/dL -- depending on whose standards of care you want to look at. It’s important to note that these “postprandial” targets are based on the assumption of testing two hours after eating. If you test 30 minutes after eating you may very well be above your target.

Numbers below 100 in diabetics make us all nervous because, more often than not, it’s your medication that put you there. So while the non-D body might be comfortable at 50 or 60, a body that has been forced low by meds is not happy there and is in grave risk of going lower. When you are on glucose lowering medications your internal series of checks and balances is gone. Your body may not be able to overcome a med-driven low, which is why the target is kept at 115, to give you a safety zone. It’s never a good idea to skate on thin ice.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.