Target Blood Sugar Levels by Age: A Complete Guide with Charts

by admin

Blood sugar level serves as a crucial indicator of your health, and it’s therefore important to be mindful of the target range within which your blood sugar levels should fall.

Although many with diabetes are familiar with the target blood sugar levels before meal (preprandial), after meal (postprandial), and at bedtime, different age groups have their own target ranges due to the differences in metabolism. Let’s check the target blood sugar level ranges of different groups!

Target Blood Sugar Level Ranges for Non-Diabetics

In general, if you don’t have diabetes and wish to assess whether you have abnormal blood sugar levels, you can refer to the following standards:

  • Fasting blood sugar level: < 100 mg/dL
  • Postprandial blood sugar level: < 140 mg/dL
  • Random glucose test level: < 200 mg/dL
  • HbA1c: 4.0 – 5.6%
Fasting blood sugar level (mg/dL) Bedtime blood sugar level (mg/dL) HbA1c (%)
Non-diabetic < 100 < 140 < 5.7
Pre-diabetes 100 - 125 140 - 199 5.7 - 6.4

Diagnosis Criteria for Diabetes

  1. Fasting blood sugar level ≧ 126 mg/dL
  2. Postprandial blood sugar level ≧ 200 mg/dL
  3. Random glucose test level ≧ 200 mg/dL (with typical symptoms of diabetes like extreme thirst, extreme hunger, frequent urination, and weight loss)
  4. HbA1c ≧ 6.5%

When testing for diabetes, the first three criteria have to be met on at least two separate occasions, while the fourth one only needs to be met once.

Target Blood Sugar Level Ranges for Infants and Preschoolers with Type 1 Diabetes

For infants and preschoolers aged 0 – 6 diagnosed with diabetes, most cases are of type 1 diabetes. The target range of blood sugar level for them are as follows:

  • Fasting blood glucose: 100 – 180 mg/dL
  • Bedtime blood glucose: 110 – 200 mg/dL
  • HbA1c < 8.5%

Children 0 to 6 require special attention because they may not be able to recognize and respond to symptoms of hypoglycemia

Fasting blood sugar level (mg/dL) Blood sugar level 2 hours after 75 gm glucose test HbA1c (%)
Children aged 0 - 6 years 100 - 180 110 - 200 < 8.5

Target Blood Sugar Level Ranges for Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes

For children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes aged 7 to 19, the target range of blood sugar levels are as follows:

  • Fasting blood sugar level: 90 – 130 mg/dL
  • Bedtime blood sugar level: 90 – 150 mg/dL
  • HbA1c: < 7.5%

The target range can be adjusted based on individual circumstances. If the risk of hypoglycemia is low, you can also consider stricter targets such as HbA1c < 7%. However, if hypoglycemia happens frequently, or if there are unpredictable episodes or significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels, you may consider adjusting the criteria.

Fasting blood sugar level (mg/dL) Bedtime blood glucose level (mg/dL) HbA1c (%)
90 - 130 90 - 150 < 7.5

Target Blood Sugar Level Ranges for Adults with Diabetes

For adults aged 20 to 65, the recommended target blood sugar level ranges are as follows:

  • Fasting blood sugar level: 80 – 130 mg/dL
  • 2-hour postprandial sugar level: 80 – 160 mg/dL
  • HbA1c < 7.0%
  • Blood pressure: < 130 / 80 mmHg

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to kidney damage, and failed kidneys can also lead to elevated blood pressure. It’s recommended to keep your blood pressure within the range of 130/80 mmHg whether you have kidney disease or not. 

Set Your HbA1c Target Based on Your Conditions

If you meet the following criteria, you may consider setting your target HbA1c to be < 6.5%:

  • Have had diabetes for less than 5 years
  • Have no or only mild diabetes complications
  • Have Low risk of hypoglycemia

Target Blood Sugar Level Ranges for Older Adults

For older adults in good health, the recommended target blood sugar level ranges are:

  • Fasting blood glucose: 90 – 130 mg/dL
  • Bedtime blood glucose: 90 – 150 mg/dL
  • HbA1c < 7.5%
  • Blood pressure < 140 / 90mmHg

For older adults with diabetes who are facing more severe health issues, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare providers to adjust your target blood sugar range. However, it’s still important to remain vigilant about potential complications resulting from sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. 

Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges for Gestational Diabetes

For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, the target blood sugar level ranges, assuming hypoglycemia doesn’t frequently occur, are as follows:

  • Fasting blood glucose (preprandial): < 95mg/dL
  • 1-hour postprandial blood glucose: < 140mg/dL
  • 2-hour postprandial blood glucose: < 120mg/dL
  • HbA1c: 6.0 % – 6.5%
  • Glycated albumin:< 15.8%

Pregnancy-related conditions like iron deficiency anemia and increased blood volume can compromise the reliability of HbA1c. Thus, an alternative would be to use glycated albumin as a mid-term indicator for blood levels in the past 2 to 4 weeks. 

Fasting blood glucose (mg/dL) 1-hour postprandial blood glucose (mg/dL) 2-hour postprandial blood glucose (mg/dL) HbA1c (%) Glycated albumin (%)
< 95 < 140 < 120 6 - 6.5 < 15.8

Target Blood Sugar Level Ranges for Hospitalized Patients

For patients with severe illness or sepsis, overly strict blood glucose targets can increase the risk of severe hypoglycemia (< 40 mg/dL) and mortality.

On the other hand, hyperglycemia can also contribute to wound infections or slower wound healing. Therefore, it’s suggested to keep the blood sugar levels within the range of 140 – 180 mg/dL.

Blood glucose levels (mg/dL)
Most patietns with or without severe illness 140 - 180

What to Do After Setting Your Targets? 3 Key Points to Achieve Your Goals

The target blood sugar level ranges may change based on different physiological factors. You can discuss with your healthcare providers and evaluate your conditions to come up with a more personalized blood glucose management plan.

Keeping your blood sugar levels within the target range is indeed challenging, but you can start by focusing on exercise, diet, and medication:

  • Exercise: choose different types of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises. It’s recommended to engage in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. 
  • Diet: aside from having healthy and balanced diets, it’s also important to pay close attention to how much carbohydrates, such as fruits, whole grains, and dairy products, you consume. Excessive intake of these can greatly affect your blood sugar. 
  • Medication: Follow the doctor’s instructions and take your medication on time. Do not stop taking medication without advice from your healthcare providers. 

If you have any questions during the process, please discuss and consult with professional medical staff to make this journey easier. 

For older adults with diabetes, or those with severe complications, the target range can be widened. On the other hand, for those newly diagnosed with diabetes, and without other complications, setting a more rigorous blood sugar management plan is encouraged. The earlier you can keep your blood glucose within the target range, the higher the chance of preventing diabetic complications. 

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