What Are Normal Fasting Blood Sugar Levels

One of the most important health screens a person should have performed during a yearly physical is a fasting blood sugar test. Also called a fasting blood glucose or FBS, this test is performed after 8 hours of fasting – with blood typically being drawn in the morning to obtain the most accurate results. But when your physician reviews the results with you or if you receive a report with the results, interpreting the numbers can be confusing. This is why it is essential you understand what a normal fasting blood sugar level is, the safe ranges and why these numbers are important.

Interpreting the Measurement

The results measured using this blood test is given in ml/dL or milliliters per deciliter. Other tests can use different metrics for measurement, but this is the standard for this particular test and the A1c, which is also often used in conjunction with an FBS to evaluate glucose levels.

What is a Safe Range?

A normal fasting blood sugar range falls between 70 to 90 ml/dL after a fast for at least 8 hours has been completed. If the levels are between 100 to 125 ml/dL, it does indicate elevated glucose levels, but does not call for a diagnosis of pre-diabetes. During the latter stage, a physician may call for routine screenings and additional testing to prevent or detect the onset of diabetes in the future.

Why Normal Fasting Blood Sugar Levels Are Important

Individuals may understand the purpose of this testing, but may not fully understand its importance. The symptoms of diabetes or low blood sugar are fairly benign in the early stages, and are often dismissed as the fatigue caused by everyday living, or just being tired. But during the stages of pre-diabetes, the disease can be brought under control before it escalates into its full fledged form. Also, hypoglycemia or low sugar levels can pose a dangerous health threat that can elevate into a potentially fatal condition if left undetected.

If you have low blood sugar make sure to read this post on common hypoglycemia treatment protocol.

Individuals at Increased Risk for Abnormal FBS Levels

Screening should be performed on a routine basis in high risk groups, including individuals who:

  • Are over the age of 45
  • Receive results indicating pre-diabetes
  • Receive results indicating mild hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
  • Have experienced unhealthy weight gain or are considered obese
  • Have experienced sudden weight loss (A symptom of diabetes)
  • Are genetically disposed to diabetes to hypoglycemic conditions

Alternatives to Fasting Blood Glucose Testing

Some health care providers administer additional blood testing in conjunction with a fasting blood sugar screen. The most common test is the A1c, also known as hemoglobin A1c, HBA1c or glycated hemoglobin. Used to determine blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months, this gives a physician a longer term overview of individual health.

If the results for a FBS fall outside normal ranges, your physician will order additional testing, including:

  • A repeated test for fasting glucose levels to confirm results
  • An A1c (if it was not previously performed)
  • Glucose tolerance test (used to identify the presence of pre-diabetes)

Normal fasting blood sugars are an excellent indicator of an individual’s health, and are used to identify potentially dangerous conditions such as hypoglycemia, pre-diabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetic conditions. Unless otherwise instructed by a physician, this test should be performed on an annual basis or repeated if an abnormal result is received.

You can also check your blood sugar levels yourself; just don’t use this as an excuse to not see your doctor for professional medical advice. This is my recommended blood sugar monitor for use at home.  It has a wide array of features at an affordable price.

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