Understanding Your Blood Glucose Results
Understanding your blood glucose level is a beneficial part of diabetes self-management and can help you and your healthcare team to decide which treatment is best for you. This can help towards reducing your risk of diabetes complications.
There are 2 main ways your glucose level can be measured:
- The HbA1c blood test measures the amount of glucose that has stuck to a part of the red blood cells and is being carried around the body. This test is usually done on a sample of blood taken from a vein in your arm and the result shows your overall control of glucose levels over the last 2-3 months. You will have this test at least once per year.
HbA1c targets are a guide and for most adults with diabetes the expected HbA1c target is 48 - 58mmol/mol. This is the target your health team will strive for since evidence shows that this success can reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetes. However, your target should be set after you have discussed this with your doctor or nurse to see what is right for you.
- If you have a glucose meter and test strips you will be able to self-test your glucose level. The result will be your current glucose level. If you are self-testing it is important you know what your target blood glucose levels are and what your glucose results mean. Your diabetes doctor or nurse will discuss your glucose levels with you and you can agree on your goals.
There are many different opinions about the ideal range for glucose levels due to the fact that each person with diabetes is an individual with different needs and responses to therapy. This is why it is important to consider your needs before setting glucose targets and goals. The target blood glucose ranges below are indicated as a guide for adults with diabetes.
– 3.5–5.5mmol/l before meals
– Less than 8mmol/l, two hours after meals.
How to use your blood glucose test results
Before testing for ketones test your blood glucose. The results will help you to decide what to do next.
|Blood glucose level||Level before meals or when you haven't eaten||What should you do|
|Normal||4.0 - 7.0 mmol/L||No need to do anything. Carry on with your usual blood glucose testing.|
|A little bit high||7.0 -10.0 mmol/L||Carry on with your usual blood glucose testing. Contact your diabetes care team to have your treatment checked if your levels are often in this range before meals.|
|High||10.0 - 16.7 mmol/L||Carry on checking your blood glucose every 2-4 hours until it is below 10 mmol/L. If it goes on rising, or if you feel ill, check your blood ketones and follow the advice on the next page.|
|Very high||Over 16.7 mmol/L||Check your blood ketones and follow the advice on the next page. Carry on checking your blood glucose every 2 - 4 hours until it is below 10 mmol/L.|