Learning About Blood Glucose Levels


Living with diabetes, regardless of the type, requires knowing your blood sugar levels in order to properly manage this disease. A popular resource from the ADA is the list of Seven Self Care Behaviors. Among these behaviors, you’ll find monitoring, which advises how to maintain proper blood glucose levels. As explained in the ABC of diabetes, the proper management of type 2 diabetes is based on three factors: A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol. Being vigilant about the maintenance of these three things is crucial to your overall health with diabetes. The role of blood sugar level management plays in everyday life with diabetes cannot be overstated. In particular, delaying the incidence of complications depends on proper management and establishing an adequate plan with a healthcare professional.

The Evidence

Results from different important clinical trials have been published highlighting the importance of managing blood glucose levels, including Accord (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes), Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease: Preterax and Diamicron MR Controlled Evaluation (ADVANCE) and Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial (VADT). All of these publications, among others, indicate the relationship between lower HbA1C levels and the appearance and progress of microvascular complications.

Although each person has different requirements and we know that glycemic goals can and should be personalized, there are different guidelines that help to establish goals, like the ones published by the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.


American Diabetes Association

Before Meals (Pre-prandial) After Meals (post-prandial) HbA1c
4.4-7.2 mmol/L80–130 mg/dL Less than 10.0 mmol/L180 mg/dL Less than 7%


American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

Before Meals (Pre-prandial After Meals (post-prandial) HbA1c
Less than 6.1 mmol/L110 mg/dL Less than 7.8 mmol/L140 mg/dL Less than 6.5%


International Diabetes Federation

Before Meals (Pre-prandial) After Meals (post-prandial) HbA1c
Less than 6.4 mmol/L115 mg/dL Less than 8.9 mmol/L160 mg/dL Less than 7%

Where Do We Start?

First, it is important that you work on a plan together with your doctor or diabetes educator. Choose the most appropriate objectives in your case and measure your blood sugar to keep track of your levels, analyze the causes of highs and lows and work with a healthcare team to improve numbers. This is a learning process so don’t despair. The important thing is not just to keep records and note details but to learn to identify areas of opportunity to improve levels in the event that it’s necessary.

WRITTEN BY Mariana Gómez , POSTED 04/30/19, UPDATED 11/30/22

Mariana was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the summer of 1985. She is a diabetes educator and a licensed psychologist. In 2008, Mariana started a blog where she shares her experiences and diabetes knowledge with others and she began being an active advocate through social media. She is considered a diabetes influencer in Latin America and has participated in several conferences, events and TV shows dedicated to diabetes education in the last years. Mariana worked for the Mexican Diabetes Federation as communications manager helping to build and empower the diabetes community in Mexico. She is currently the program manager for Beyond Type 1 en Español.