Blood glucose is influenced by many factors. Food, stress and illness can raise blood glucose while exercise, medicines, and sometimes stress, can lower it. In people without diabetes, the body keeps all of these factors in balance. When blood glucose goes up, the body produces insulin to help bring it back down. When blood glucose starts to go down, the liver puts out extra glucose. People with diabetes have to do some of the work that the body used to do for them. Throughout the day a person with diabetes has many decisions to make: when and what to eat, when and how much activity to do, and sometimes, how much medicine to take.

Knowing your blood glucose helps to make informed decisions.

Target blood glucose levels for people with diabetes – as recommended by the International Diabetes Federation – are:

Before meals:

70-130 mg/dl (4-7 mmol/L)

2 hours after meals:

less than 180 mg/dl (10 mmol/L)

These recommendations are based on research studies conducted among people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes that showed that keeping blood glucose levels in these ranges helps to lower the risk of developing complications.