What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?

Sugar might get a bad rap, but it's actually an essential nutrient for the functioning of the cells in our bodies. Sugar, also known as glucose, is what provides us with energy and is necessary for the proper functioning of our brain, heart, and digestive system (via Healthline). Our bodies create glucose by digesting food into sugar that gets transported to the bloodstream (via Healthline). 

While our bodies need protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins to survive, it's carbohydrates that have the greatest influence on our blood sugar. The higher the carb-loaded food we consume, like pasta, bread, and sugary drinks, the higher the spike in blood sugar. In healthy people, the pancreas creates insulin, a hormone used to manage blood sugar. However, people who suffer from diabetes either don't produce insulin, or produce it, but don't use it properly. This can result in problems with the heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.

According to Clinical Diabetes, a publication of the American Diabetes Association, exercise, stress, alcohol, too much or not enough food, menstrual periods, and dehydration can affect blood glucose levels.

How do we know what's normal?

Blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL (via American Diabetes Association). It will be different depending on if you've eaten in the past 8 hours or not (via Virginia Mason Medical Center). If you've been fasting, a normal blood sugar level is 70-99 mg/dL, whereas 2 hours after eating, a normal level is 140 mg/dL.

If blood sugar is irregular, diabetes may be a cause for concern. Diabetes is diagnosed if any blood glucose level is over 200 mg/dL, or if a fasting blood glucose level is above 126 mg/dL (via Virginia Mason Medical Center). Other common symptoms are fatigue, excessive thirst or urination, and weight loss.

The only real way to check your blood sugar is with a blood glucose meter, similar to the ones diabetics use (via Clinical Diabetes). You can also get a blood test from your health care provider to find out your blood glucose average over the past few months.