Blood sugar levels – indicators of the norm in men and women, before and after meals

The concept of “sugar level” in the minds of most people is strongly associated with diabetes mellitus. Not surprising. Indeed, for diabetics, such an indicator is vital. Deviations from the norm can provoke the development of severe complications, irreversible disorders and even coma. Therefore, diabetic patients should know which indicators are considered the norm, and which signal violations.

The content of the article

What is glycemia

The term “glycemia” appeared in medical practice thanks to the French physiologist Claude Bernard in the 19th century. By this, the doctor meant the level of sugar in the blood. Since then, the concept has firmly entered medicine and has become one of the key concepts in endocrinology.

Glycemia is not a disease or an abnormality. It is an indicator that indicates the concentration of glucose in the body.

Sugar rate

The body releases glucose from food entering the digestive tract. This substance provides all systems with the necessary energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is responsible for the correct distribution of sugar between organs. It is he who “forces” the cells to absorb glucose, due to which the release of energy occurs. With proper synthesis of insulin, blood sugar levels always vary within normal limits. After all, as soon as the concentration of glucose increases, the brain immediately gives the command to the pancreas: to produce a hormone. Your glucose level depends on many factors:

  • the age of the person;
  • food intake;
  • physical activity;
  • psycho-emotional state;
  • diagnosed pathologies.

After analyzing the significant points, the doctors presented the following blood sugar norms to the population. They are shown in the table.

conditionBlood sugar norms, mmol / l
In adultsIn childrenIn pregnant women
On an empty stomach3.9-5.02.78-5.54.0-5.2
Under loadUp to 7.7Up to 7.8Up to 6.7

Women may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy . This pathology occurs against the background of excessive stress on the body. The characteristic symptoms of diabetes may be completely absent. The woman is not worried about anything. The development of pathology can be detected only by the results of the analysis. This condition requires mandatory therapeutic correction. With gestational diabetes, the unborn baby is seriously harmed, up to and including the development of defects.

Diabetes sugar

If the concentration of glucose in the blood is significantly higher than normal values, then doctors suspect the patient has diabetes. With such a pathology, metabolic processes are disrupted. As a result, blood sugar levels rise. Depending on the reason for the increase in glucose concentration, doctors distinguish the following types of pathology:

  • 1 type. This form is characterized by damage to the pancreas at the cellular level. The damaged organ is unable to synthesize the required amount of insulin. Therefore, glucose entering the body is not fully distributed. To lower the sugar level in type 1 diabetes, the patient is given insulin injections. 
  • Type 2. With such a disease, the pancreas synthesizes a sufficient amount of insulin. But the hormone is not perceived by the tissues of the organs. This leads to an increase in glucose levels. To reduce sugar, special hypoglycemic drugs are prescribed. 

Reaching sugar levels in diabetes is very difficult, and sometimes impossible. The glucose values ​​of a sick person will always be slightly higher than that of a healthy person. However, there are acceptable levels for diabetics. The upper limit is called the target glucose level. These are indicators recognized by doctors, in which diabetics do not develop complications of the disease. These values ​​are presented below.

Human conditionAllowable sugar rates, mmol / l
On an empty stomachAfter eating (after 2 hours)
No pathology4.0-5.5Up to 7.8
Type 1 diabetes5.0-7.05.0-9.0
Type 2 diabetes4.0-7.05.0-8.5

If a diabetic patient adheres to the target indicators, the risk of developing nephropathy (kidney damage) is reduced by 50%, retinopathy (eye disease) by 76%, and neuropathy (nervous system disorders) by 60%.

Critical sugar levels in diabetes

For a healthy person, an increase in glucose above 7.8 mmol / L or a decrease below 2.8 mmol / L is considered critical. With such sugar concentrations in the body, irreversible processes are triggered. If the patient has already developed diabetes, glucose values ​​can vary widely.    

High performance

The critical sugar level in such patients is considered to be 13-17 mmol / l. This is a dangerous condition for the body. Glucose is present not only in the blood, but also in the urine. In addition, acetone is found in urine. There is a risk of developing a hyperglycemic coma. A pathologically high glucose concentration is indicated by the following symptoms:  

  • increased urination;
  • excessive hunger;
  • itchy skin;
  • increased water intake;
  • weakness;
  • blurred vision;
  • nausea, vomiting.

To protect the diabetic patient from serious consequences, it is necessary to immediately make a subcutaneous injection of insulin.

Low glucose

A sudden drop in glucose levels also has a critical limit. For diabetics, it is dangerous to drop blood sugar below 3.2 mmol / l. Hypoglycemia develops. For an easy stage of pathology, the following clinical picture is characteristic:  

  • chills;
  • trembling, weakness of the limbs;
  • loss of sensitivity of the tongue (usually only the tip);
  • pallor;
  • dizziness;
  • profuse sweating;
  • confusion;
  • the complexity of orientation in space and time.

With a further decrease in glucose, the patient’s heart rate increases, a feeling of fear appears, and irritability arises. The patient loses consciousness. He has convulsions, coma or death. Such a patient needs to immediately raise the sugar level. To do this, you can give a little simple carbohydrates (a glass of sweet fruit juice, 200 ml of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar, 5-6 hard candy).

Deadly blood sugar

If the sugar rate has strict limits, then the indicators at which the patient’s death can occur are very conditional. They depend on the human body. For some diabetic patients, an increase in glucose concentration of up to 17 mmol / L leads to hyperglycemic coma. In others, with such indicators, even characteristic symptoms do not arise. An increase in glucose of more than 18 mmol / l is fraught with the development of hyperosmolar coma against the background of hyperglycemia . With this pathology, the sugar level can reach exorbitant values ​​(up to 55 mmol / l). The development of hyperosmolar coma is signaled by the following symptoms:    

  • profuse urination;
  • excessive thirst (a person drinks a lot, but cannot satisfy the need for water);
  • drowsiness;
  • weakness;
  • dry skin, mucous membranes;
  • sharpening of facial features;
  • dyspnea.

No amount of home methods can help. The patient needs urgent hospitalization.

Fatal glucose levels in diabetics range from 18-55 mmol / L. It is impossible to determine which indicators will lead to death. They depend only on the individual characteristics of the organism.

Blood sugar control

Medicine has not yet created such drugs that could completely cure diabetes. Therefore, doctors strongly recommend preventing the development of the disease. One of the prevention methods is regular monitoring of sugar levels. A healthy person needs to donate blood for analysis once a year. But if the sugar indicators are far from the norm, then the delivery of biomaterial for research becomes more frequent. The regularity of blood sampling is specified individually.


With the development of diabetes mellitus, various laboratory tests can be recommended:

  1. Fasting blood test. This is the simplest test to determine if a patient’s sugar is within the normal range. The study is carried out on an empty stomach. In order not to distort the results, doctors recommend eliminating physical activity and anxiety before sampling biomaterial. 
  2. Blood test “under stress”. This diagnosis involves taking biomaterial twice. Initially, blood is taken on an empty stomach. Then the patient is offered to take glucose in the form of syrup or tablets (the dosage is calculated depending on the body weight). After 1.5-2 hours, the patient’s blood is re-taken for analysis. By such indicators, the doctor can judge the body’s tolerance to glucose. This study allows you to identify a person’s tendency to develop diabetes. 
  3. Study of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). An analysis is prescribed to determine the average blood sugar level over a long period of time (usually 3 months). The study allows you to identify the patient’s predisposition to diabetes. And if the pathology has already developed, then laboratory diagnostics gives an idea of ​​the course of the disease and the effectiveness of the prescribed therapy. 

Indicators of glycated hemoglobin depend on the age of the patient and the presence of serious complications. In a healthy person, HbA1c ranges from 4-6%. The indicators of patients with diabetes are shown in the table.

Severe macrovascular consequences or hypoglycemiaIndicators HbA1c,%
In patients under 30In patients 30-50 years oldIn elderly diabetics (50 years or more)

Control with a glucometer

Patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus need to constantly monitor glycemia. Moreover, you need to check the sugar concentration several times a day. For this, it is recommended to purchase a blood glucose meter . The research is carried out in the following cases:

  1. In the morning, after getting out of bed. Testing is performed on an empty stomach. The analysis allows you to determine how the body withstands the night and whether the dosage of the drug is correctly selected. 
  2. Before eating. Sugar levels are measured before every meal. Such a study makes it possible to establish the effectiveness of the selected dietary food. 
  3. 2 hours after eating. If the diet is selected correctly, then the glucose concentration during this time should return to target values. Deviations from the norm signal the need to correct the power supply. 
  4. With worries, stress or deterioration of health. Such conditions cause an increase in glucose concentration. To prevent the development of severe complications, doctors recommend that blood glucose measurements be taken. Based on the results obtained, a decision is made on an additional injection of insulin (for type 1) or the use of a drug that lowers blood sugar levels (for type 2). 
  5. Before, during and after gymnastics. These measurements give an idea of ​​how exercise affects glucose concentration. An excessive decrease in performance signals the need for a snack before playing sports. 
  6. Before driving a car. You can get behind the wheel and go outside only if the glucose concentration meets the permissible standards. 
  7. For the night. If your blood sugar is low, it is recommended to have a small snack before going to bed. 
  8. At night, at about 3 o’clock. Such measurements are taken if necessary. Diagnostics gives an idea of ​​the correctness of complex therapy. If a decrease in glucose levels is detected at night, then it is imperative to inform your doctor about this. 

Paraphrasing a well-known proverb, we can confidently say: diabetes is not so terrible as uncontrolled sugar levels. Therefore, upon hearing the verdict diagnosis, you should not give up. Even such a serious illness can be kept in check.

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