What Is Normal Nonfasting Glucose?

If you have diabetes, then you know that blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels can rise higher than normal or decrease lower than normal.

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body produces too little or no insulin. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't respond properly to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that moves blood glucose into the body’s cells. You need it for energy and good health.

You can better manage your diabetes when you understand what affects your blood sugar levels. And better management should help you feel better, more often.

This article explains the importance of blood glucose and the difference between fasting, nonfasting and normal blood sugar levels. It also underscores why diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels.

woman checking glucose levels

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What Is Blood Glucose?

Blood glucose comes from food. As you eat, food is broken down into sugar and sent to the blood. The insulin is what helps the sugar go into the cells. Once this happens, the sugar is either used for energy or stored away.

Glucose is known as the body’s main energy source. Too much glucose in the blood, or if it is not absorbed properly, can create both short- and long-term health issues. To keep a healthy blood sugar level, it's important to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise regularly
  • Check your blood glucose levels
  • Keep in contact with your healthcare provider

Fasting vs. Nonfasting Blood Sugar

Fasting blood sugar is a test that measures blood sugar and is used to determine if an individual has diabetes. When a person takes this test, they cannot eat or drink for at least eight hours prior to the test. The results determine whether a person is prediabetic or diabetic.

The results are measured in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL. The following results indicate whether a person is prediabetic or diabetic:

  • Normal: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Prediabetes: 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL
  • Diabetes: 126 mg/dL or higher

To test nonfasting blood sugar, an A1C test is administered to determine the average blood sugar level of an individual over a period of two to three months. The following results indicate whether a person is prediabetic or diabetic:

  • Normal: 5.7%
  • Prediabetes: 5.7% to 6.4 %
  • Diabetes: 6.5%

Normal Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar levels among people with type 1 diabetes should be:

  • Before meals: From 90 to 130 mg/dL (5.0 to 7.2 mmol/L) for adults
  • After meals (1 to 2 hours after eating): Less than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) for adults
  • At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL (5.0 to 8.3 mmol/L) for adults

Blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes should be:

  • Before meals: From 70 to 130 mg/dL (3.9 to 7.2 mmol/L) for adults
  • After meals (1 to 2 hours after eating): Less than 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L) for adults
  • At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL (5.0 to 8.3 mmol/L) for adults

Blood Sugar Levels for Children and Babies

These are the normal blood glucose levels for children:

  • 0 to 5 years old: 100 to 180 mg/dL
  • 6 to 9 years old: 80 to 140 mg/dL
  • 10 years old or more: 70 to 120 mg/dL

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a glucose level below 70 mg/dL. If the body doesn’t have enough glucose, this can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Fast breathing
  • Feeling anxious or weak
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Shakiness

If a person has diabetes, hypoglycemia can sometimes be a side effect of diabetes medication. If a person has hypoglycemia and the glucose is too low, it could result in a diabetic coma. If the person is unconscious, it is vital to call 911 immediately.

Anyone with diabetes should keep the contact information of their healthcare provider nearby so they can reach out for help when needed.

When to Seek Emergency Help

Call 911 if your blood sugar falls below 70 mg/dL or if you feel tired or dizzy.

Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia is high blood sugar. This happens when the body doesn’t have enough insulin and there is too much sugar in the blood. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Increased hunger and/or thirst

If hyperglycemia is not treated properly, you risk both short- and long-term health issues, such as kidney problems. And if your blood sugar climbs too high and is left untreated, you risk lapsing into a diabetic coma.

Hyperglycemia can be maintained and/or prevented by:

  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol
  • Eating right
  • Exercising
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Taking medication as prescribed

It's important to work with your healthcare provider to get the best outcome regarding this condition.

Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can develop in people who have type 1 diabetes and untreated hyperglycemia. This is when toxic acids or ketones build up in the blood. This is an extremely serious condition that can cause coma or death.

Summary

Diabetes is a serious condition that requires diabetics to remain proactive about their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. If they don't, they could develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), or ketoacidosis (a serious complication of diabetes). Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help keep blood sugar levels under control.

A Word From Verywell

Diabetes can create a lot of health complications if it's not managed properly. Checking blood sugar on a regular basis is essential. For many people, it also represents one of the biggest adjustments they have to make to a diabetic lifestyle. But if diabetes goes untreated, it can result in dangerous consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are normal blood sugar levels?

    Blood sugar levels can fluctuate based on several factors, including the food you eat. A random blood sugar taken at any time during the day in people without diabetes should be below 200 mg/dL. A study found that blood sugar levels in people without diabetes stays between 70 mg/dL and 130 mg/dL at least 96% of the time.

  • What is a normal fasting glucose level?

    Normal fasting blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL. A fasting glucose level above 125 mg/dL is considered diabetic. Between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetic.

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10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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