Blood sugar levels | Blood glucose charts for children and adults
Many people need to keep track of their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels, sometimes called blood glucose levels, are the amount of sugar you have in your blood at the time of the test. The amount of blood glucose varies during the day, depending on when you eat and what you're doing. Having very high or very low blood sugar levels can mean you have a health problem.
What Are Blood Sugar Levels?
Glucose is the sugar that all other sugars (fructose, lactose, sucrose) break down into after they are eaten and digested. Your body uses glucose for quick energy. When you get cravings for something sweet after working out, it's because your body needs glucose.
Glucose levels vary throughout the day. They are higher after you eat, and lower after you've exercised. The type of food you eat also affects your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates (pasta, bread, potatoes) raise blood sugar faster than protein (meat, dairy).
What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?
Because your blood sugar level varies throughout the day, doctors like to test it after you've been fasting for at least eight hours. A healthy adult should have a fasting blood glucose level of less than 100 mg/dL, meaning less than 100 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood.
What Are Blood Sugar Level Charts?
People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes have conditions in which they either lack insulin (Type 1) or their insulin does not properly break down the glucose in their body. Their blood sugar level can rise and fall dramatically, causing physical and psychological symptoms that are harmful and even fatal.
Blood Sugar Levels for Children
Children under the age of 6 nearly always have Type 1 diabetes. Their blood glucose levels can range from 80 to 200 mg/dL per day. Children this young require constant glucose monitoring and usually use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) such as the FreeStyle Libre 2 Sensor or DexCom G6, so they do not need constant finger sticks.
Teenagers need to moderate their blood sugar levels and shoot for a range between 70-150 mg/dL throughout the day. Teenagers often have difficulties with managing their blood sugar levels due to a combination of peer pressure, other hormonal changes (increasing testosterone and estrogen levels), and the need to constantly monitor their glucose levels. Teenagers can benefit from CGMs.
Adults should attempt to keep their blood sugar between 70-140 mg/dL. Older adults are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes, sometimes called 'adult-onset' diabetes. This can make control of their diabetes difficult because their eating habits are already set.
Managing Blood Sugar Levels
Controlling your blood sugar levels requires a combination of medications and medical care. Pharmacies have the prescriptions, the equipment, and the information you need to control your blood sugar and stay well. Ask your pharmacists about other ways to manage your diabetes besides diet and medication.
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