Blood sugar basics

Your blood sugar levels are changing all the time. That's why they are so challenging to control. But, even small improvements in your long term blood sugar levels can have a tremendously positive influence on your future health.
The more you learn about yourself and the more you talk to diabetes experts, the more power you have to manage your blood sugar.
So let's start with the basics.

Where Does Sugar Come From?
Sugar comes from food. Specifically, carbohydrates or carbs. Carbs are found in starchy and sugary foods. The digestive process takes carbs and breaks them down into sugar. In this form, they can enter the bloodstream and be used as energy. Sugary foods, like sweets, jam and fruit juice, release glucose very quickly. Other carbs, like potatoes, Indian chapati bread, pasta and rice, release glucose more slowly.

What Should My Blood Sugar Levels Be?
Everyone is different. There is no perfect answer for what your blood sugar goals should be. As part of your diabetes care plan, you should work with your health care team to set goals that are right for you.
The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping blood sugar levels in the range of:

  • 70 - 130 mg/dL (3.9 - 7.2 mmol/L) before meals
  • Less than 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L) after meals

You will usually feel better and have more energy when your blood glucose stays near or at normal levels. Managing your blood sugar also reduces your risk of developing health problems from diabetes.