Normal Glucose Levels after Eating
Glucose is a type of sugar and the most abundant monosaccharide, a subcategory of carbohydrates. It is the main source of energy for all living organisms and circulates in the blood of animals as blood sugar. Glucose occurs naturally and is found in its free state in fruits and other parts of plants.
The drinks and food you consume can make your glucose levels rise quickly or more gradually at times. People with diabetes need to check how much insulin they may need for beverages and food and they must juggle the fluctuations of glucose.
It can be tricky knowing what exactly is considered a normal glucose level, as differing clinical guidance and how so much diabetes management is individualised. This means that the target range or recommended glucose goal for one person might not be the same for someone else. It is best to talk to your healthcare provider for clinical guidance when it comes to glucose levels after eating, whether you have diabetes or not and whether you experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
What are Normal Blood Sugar Levels?
Your blood sugars after you start drinking and eating are an important measure of your overall health (also known as post-prandial), especially if you live with any type of diabetes.
As food raises blood sugar, so rather than the full range often seen before anything’s eaten, most guidelines focus on the higher end of a glucose level.
Your blood sugars should return to normal typically 2 hours after you finish eating. Depending on what you drink and eat and how much insulin’s dosed, that postprandial effect can vary dramatically.
The post-prandial glucose or more commonly referred as PP-sugar range may differ for teens and children, as well as for diabetic older adults who may live with higher glucose levels because of safety concerns such as falling.
In recent years, medical and diabetes organisations have encouraged individualised, personalised goals that might change based on many factors beyond just the food you eat. Those other factors include:
- Type of diabetes
- The amount of insulin you take
- How much you exercise
- Any existing health conditions or complications
- Other medications you take
There is no textbook definition for what your blood sugars should be at any given time. It is best to discuss with your diabetes care team and doctors any target ranges or specific goals you may have, after eating or at other times. This is just one part of overall health and diabetes management, including the mental aspect of monitoring your blood sugar.
How to Check Blood Sugar?
If you are diabetic, your doctor may ask you to track your blood sugar by testing it at home with a special device called a home blood sugar meter or a blood glucose monitor. It takes a small sample of blood normally from your fingertip and measures the amount of glucose in it. The best way to use your device is by following your doctor’s instructions.
Your doctor will tell you how and when to test your blood sugar. Each time you do it, log it in an app, online tool or notebook. Whether a reading will be of concern to your doctor or not can be affected by your last meal, recent activity and the time of day. Try to log relevant information such as:
- What dosage and medication you took
- Whether you were fasting, when you ate or what you ate
- What kind of exercise you were doing, how intense and how much
That will help your doctor and you see how your treatment is working.
How does Food affect Your Blood Sugar?
Your body breaks down everything you drink and eat, absorbing that into your body and converting parts of that into energy and sugar for your body to use.
High glycemic index foods (starchy and sugary foods, white bread) are rapidly digested and can cause a quick rise in your blood sugar levels. Foods with a lower glycemic index and those with protein and fats are slowly digested and lead to a gradual rise in your blood sugar levels.
Diabetic people, their bodies don’t use or produce insulin properly to naturally regulate their blood sugar levels. As a result, their glucose levels might be much higher in comparison with someone without diabetes (whose body naturally makes insulin for the drinks and food they consume to keep glucose levels regulated).
When to Consult a Doctor?
You should consult your doctor whenever you are worried about your glucose levels.
You may want to discuss possible changes to your care plan if you are experiencing low or high blood sugar after eating or at any other time. This might include changing insulin correction amounts for the food you’re consuming as it may not be accurate. You may also be required to adjust your background insulin amounts if they are leading to out-of-range glucose levels after eating.
Do not make any immediate changes to your diabetes care plan or medication dosages without first talking with your doctor.
Glucose is a vital energy source present in our blood. The optimum glucose level may differ from person to person, so it is advisable to seek medical help from an experienced endocrinologist. Timely care and help can ensure your blood sugar levels are maintained through a care plan or dosage as prescribed by your doctor.
At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult an endocrinologist, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment with Dr. Abhay Ahluwalia at the CK Birla Hospital.
What is a Normal Blood Sugar Level 30 minutes after Eating?
Generally, your glucose levels should be between 140 to 180 mg/dL after eating, however, they can rise higher depending on multiple factors, including what drink or food you have consumed and your age.
Is 160 Blood Sugar High after Eating?
Yes, because after eating the normal blood sugar value is 120 – 140 mg/dl. You are pre-diabetic if your value is 160 mg/dl.
Can a Person Check their Blood Sugar Level by themselves?
You can check your blood sugar level by doing a finger-prick test or by using a flash glucose monitor or CGM (an electronic blood sugar monitor). This can be done several times a day so that you can keep an eye on your levels during your daily routine and helps you work out how much medication to take and what to eat.
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