Diabetes is becoming more common every day, and there are approximately 26 million people who are currently suffering from the disease. Although these numbers can cause considerable anxiety, it is important to focus your attention on the numbers that mean the most to you as a diabetic, including your blood sugar levels. The more you understand about your numbers, the more effective you will be at managing your diabetes and living a happy and fulfilled lifestyle.
Important Numbers for Diabetes Testing
If you do not know if you have diabetes, your doctor will likely conduct a few different tests in order to analyze some very important numbers that relate to your health. These tests may include:
- Hemoglobin A1C (glycated hemoglobin) test
- Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test
- Oral glucose tolerance (OGTT) test
Here is some information about each of the above-mentioned tests, and what the results mean:
Hemoglobin A1C Test
The A1C test provides valuable information about average blood glucose levels over a period of three months.
- Normal test result: below 5.7%
- Diabetes test result: 6.5% or higher
- Prediabetes test result: 5.7% to 6.4%
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test
The fasting plasma glucose test is administered after a period of fasting (for at least eight hours).
- Normal blood sugar: below 100 mg/dL
- Diabetes: higher than 126 mg/dL
- Prediabetes: between 100 mg/dL and 126 mg/dL
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The OGTT test is designed to record blood glucose levels at various intervals after consuming a sweet drink.
- Normal blood sugar: below 140 mg/dL, two hours after consuming sweet beverage
- Diabetes: 200 mg/dL or higher, two hours after consuming sweet beverage
- Prediabetes: 140 mg/DL to 199 mg/dL, two hours after consuming sweet beverage
The numbers revealed in these tests are very important for determining whether you have diabetes or have prediabetes, but what if you already know that you are diabetic? Here are a few very important numbers that every diabetic must know:
Daily Blood Sugar Numbers
In order to make sure you stay in the best health possible, it is imperative that you learn how to test your blood sugar levels several times throughout the day. Diabetics are encouraged to try and keep their blood sugar levels within the following ranges:
- Between 80 mg/dL and 120 mg/dL first thing in the morning
- Between 70 mg/dL and 130 mg/dL just before meals
- Below 180 mg/dL two hours after beginning a meal
- Between 100 mg/dL and 140 mg/dL at bedtime
These numbers are simply recommendations, and it is important to talk to your doctor about your ideal blood sugar numbers.
Hemoglobin A1C Levels
In addition to determining whether a person has diabetes or prediabetes, the A1C test can also help diabetics know whether they need to make adjustments to their diabetes plan. This test should be performed at least twice each year in order to catch complications early on and make lifestyle amendments as needed.
Additional Important Numbers
In addition to blood sugar numbers and A1C tests, it is also important for diabetics to keep the following important numbers in mind:
- Blood pressure: most individuals should ideally stay below 140/80 mmHg, but you should consult with your doctor about your appropriate blood pressure levels
- Weight: Managing your weight may help you manage your diabetes symptoms as well
- Cholesterol: LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL in individuals who do not have cardiovascular disease. HDL cholesterol should be above 50 mg/dL for women and above 40 mg/dL for men. Talk to your doctor about your ideal levels.
Being diagnosed with diabetes may seem like the end of the world temporarily, but as long as you learn how to monitor and manage important numbers that relate to your health, you can live a long and happy life in spite of your diabetes.