Understanding Blood Sugar Goals

Last updated: March 2021

With Type 2 diabetes, a person's body is unable to effectively use the insulin that his or her body makes due to insulin resistance and insufficient production of insulin. Unfortunately, this leads to uncontrolled blood glucose levels. Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is critical to the management of Type 2 diabetes, but understanding one's own blood sugar goals can be overwhelming.

One of our community members asked us the following question: Can you help me understand what my blood sugar goals should be throughout the day? 

Our experts Kelly, Joanne, and Meryl all responded.

Response from Kelly

Kelly Dabel

This is a great question and one that should first be discussed with your Diabetes Doctor. The numbers may vary slightly from person to person depending on your age, personal medical history, if you are newly diagnosed or if you have any other conditions that may need to be considered. Generally speaking though, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Diabetes Association recommend the following targets for non-pregnant adults:

An HgbA1c level of < 7%, which translates to an average blood glucose of about 154mg/dL over the past 2-3 months. More specifically, your fasted (or before you eat) blood glucose should be between 70-130mg/dL and you'll want to shoot for a blood glucose less than 180mg/dL, 1-2 hours after eating. There are several smart phone apps out now that can make recording and keeping track of your blood glucose values easy and help you keep them organized. It's immensely helpful to bring your blood glucose records and food journal with you when meeting with your Diabetes Doctor or Registered Dietitian to really get the most out of your visit. Response from Meryl

Meryl Profile Picture

I completely agree that blood sugar levels are often customized to meet the patient needs/goals. People often become discouraged when their blood sugars are running high. I see it as useful information that can provide insight as to how we can help improve a patients diabetes management.

Response from Joanne

Joanne Lyford Bio

Keep in mind, monitoring blood sugar levels day to day is to help you learn how food, activity, medications and stress impact YOU.  It takes time and experience to learn your blood sugar trends and sometimes goals are adjusted, with changing circumstances of life (pregnancy, surgery).  You play an active role at every visit with your health care team to problem solve high or low blood sugar trends and adjust your therapy and personal blood sugar goals as needed.

Kelly also mentioned how important food, activity and blood sugar diaries are to get the most out of every visit with your health care team.  Be mindful to record emotions, feelings and/or stress in your diary as well.

If you have a smart phone the apps are great to use for recording diary entries - and you always have it with you to record and you'll remember to take it to your appointments.  But, if you don't have a smart phone, you can record using good old fashioned pen and paper too.  Whatever way you choose just make sure to share the contents with your team at your appointments.

 What do you do to monitor your blood glucose levels? Do you keep a journal? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments!

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