Goals of Medication

middle aged couple

Blood Sugar Control

Good blood sugar control requires that you know and understand a few general numbers to help measure how much glucose is in your blood at certain times of the day.

Goals Of Diabetes Treatment

  • To keep the blood sugar as normal as possible without serious high or low blood sugars
  • To prevent tissue damage caused by too much sugar in the blood stream

Normal ranges for blood sugar

People who don’t have diabetes keep their blood sugars between 60 – 100 mg/dl overnight and before meals, and less than 140 mg/dl after meals. Although the ultimate goal of diabetes management is to return the blood sugar to the natural or non-diabetic level, this may be difficult without excessive low blood sugars or hypoglycemia.

What are the blood sugar (glucose) targets for diabetes?

The ultimate treatment goal for Type 1 diabetes is to re-create normal (non-diabetic) or NEARLY normal blood sugar levels – without causing low blood sugars.

Good blood sugar control requires that you know and understand a few general numbers. The numbers measure how much glucose is in your blood at certain times of the day and represent what the American Diabetic Association believes are the best ranges to prevent complications.

The ADA (American Diabetes Association) Guidelines for blood glucose control are:

A1c*< 7.0%
Before Meal Glucose Level70-130 mg/dl
After Meal Glucose Level< 180 mg/dl

*Hemoglobin (A1c) is a measure of your average blood glucose control over the previous 3 months. Think of the A1c as a long-term blood glucose measure that changes very gradually.

Normal or Non-Diabetic Plasma Glucose Levels

American Diabetes Association Target Plasma Glucose Recommendations Graph

Of course, these are general standards for everyone with diabetes – both type 1 as well as type 2. Ask your diabetes team for personalized goals and blood sugar (blood glucose) monitoring schedules.

For example:

When you have type 1 diabetes you are treated with insulin replacement therapy. The goal is to replace the insulin in the right amount and at the right time.  Sometimes, more insulin than needed is taken and this will cause hypoglycemia.

To minimize this risk, many providers will recommend that individuals treated with insulin target a pre-meal blood sugar (plasma glucose) of 90-130 mg/dl and post meal blood sugar (plasma glucose) of less than 180 mg/dl.

Also, if you are experiencing a lot of hypoglycemia or have hypoglycemic unawareness your provider may suggest you target higher blood sugar levels.

In contrast, pregnant women or women thinking about getting pregnant will have lower blood glucose targets.

To find out how your blood glucose specifically responds to your treatment plan, check your blood glucose at different times throughout the day. Good times to check include before meals and snacks, at bedtime and whenever you feel “low” or sense that your blood sugar may be off target. Blood sugar checks also are a good idea when you are sick or changing activity. The number of blood sugar checks a day depends upon your individual situation, but most people with type 1 diabetes need to check at least 4-6 times a day, individuals treated an insulin pump usually need to check more frequently.


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