Medical terminology can be a bit confusing, even when the item in question is something very basic, like blood sugar. You’ve probably heard someone in your life talk about their blood sugar — also known as blood glucose — before. In truth, blood sugar levels affect everyone, not just those with diabetes. Temporary rises and falls in blood sugar can cause a host of problems, such as fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headaches. Ongoing issues with blood sugar can lead to serious health conditions.
Learning about normal blood sugar levels is helpful for everyone and absolutely critical for those managing endocrine conditions like diabetes or hypoglycemia. If you’re not sure what “normal” should look like, check out this guide to normal blood sugar levels and diabetes test range numbers.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Normal blood sugar levels vary throughout the day for everyone and are affected by the foods we eat, the beverages we drink and the exercise (or lack of it) we get. A normal blood sugar level for a person who has not been diagnosed with diabetes should be 80-99 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) when they have not eaten for more than two hours. This means there are 80-99 milligrams of glucose (a type of sugar in the body) per deciliter of blood when the blood is tested.
When a person with normal blood sugar responses eats a meal, the blood sugar will spike but should not exceed 140 mg/dL. The exact amount of the spike will vary based on the foods that are eaten. Approximately two hours after eating a meal, normal blood sugar should fall below the 140 mg/dL maximum in a person who does not have blood sugar issues. A person who has been diagnosed with diabetes or other endocrine conditions will have different blood sugar levels that require close monitoring.