Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a health condition that may cause a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high. It is important to monitor blood glucose and keep it within an appropriate range to help manage the condition.

T2D occurs when a person’s body can no longer effectively use the insulin their pancreas produces. Doctors call this insulin resistance. When the pancreas cannot keep up and blood sugar rises, it sets the stage for prediabetes and T2D.

High blood sugars can damage the body and result in serious health complications, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. It is advisable to keep blood sugar levels within suitable ranges to help prevent health problems.

For individuals with T2D, health experts recommend aiming to keep blood sugars between 80 and 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before a meal and less than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after.

In this article, we will discuss suitable ranges for blood sugars and how to monitor blood glucose.

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Health experts advise that a person living with T2D should aim to keep their blood glucose range between 80 and 130 mg/dL before a meal and less than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after.

As part of routine diabetes management, a person will often also require an A1C test. This is a blood test that a healthcare professional performs to provide information on a person’s average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.

Depending on a person’s diabetes history and general health, they may have different A1C targets. However, research suggests that someone can reduce the risks of diabetes complications by maintaining an A1C of 7% or below.

Learn more about managing and lowering A1C levels.

Glucose goals vary from person to person. Someone living with T2D can regularly discuss managing diabetes with a doctor.

During this process, a health professional will adapt a person’s care plan, including their glucose ranges. The target ranges may vary depending on several factors. These can include age or any additional health issues an individual may have.

There are two main ways a person can self-check their glucose levels.

The first is via a finger-prick test. This involves placing a test strip in a meter, then using a needle to prick the person’s finger. This will draw a small amount of blood that a healthcare professional can test. By placing blood on the test strip, the meter can provide a glucose reading.

The second method is through continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). This involves wearing a sensor, which a person can scan with a small device or smartphone. Alternatively, the sensor can link with a smart device and send data to it independently. Unlike finger-pricking, CGMs do not measure glucose in the blood. Instead, it measures interstitial fluid, which refers to the amount of glucose in the fluid surrounding a person’s cells.

When living with T2D, there are several regime related activities a person needs to do to manage the condition. A medical professional will typically work with individuals to help develop a care plan. This may involve making lifestyle changes and taking prescribed medications.

Managing blood glucose may vary depending on several factors, such as whether a person has obesity, their age, and if they have any underlying conditions.

Lifestyle changes

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests that someone with type 2 diabetes may need certain lifestyle changes. This may include:

  • eating nutritious meals
  • limiting calories if they have excess weight
  • encouraging physical activity
  • quitting smoking, if applicable
  • managing blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels


A healthcare professional may prescribe blood-sugar lowering medication to a person living with T2D. The type of medication a doctor recommends will depend on several considerations, such as:

  • a person’s treatment goal
  • an individual’s general health
  • whether a person is taking their medications
  • whether someone has an underlying condition
  • how well the medication works or the body tolerates it

Blood-sugar lowering medication broadly falls into two categories: oral medicines and injectable medicines.

Oral medicines may be in tablet or liquid form. Typically, people living with T2D start with medication called metformin. This drug helps the liver make less glucose and enables the body to use insulin better.

Other oral medicines work in slightly different ways to lower blood glucose levels. For example, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, such as acarbose, work by blocking the absorption of carbohydrates by the small intestine.

A medical professional may prescribe glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists. These medications work by increasing insulin production and reducing the amount of glucose the liver releases. A person may use this in conjunction with other antidiabetic medication.

In some cases, people with T2D may need insulin injections to help better manage their glucose levels. Insulin injections act as a replacement or supplement for the body’s natural insulin.

Learn about the best injection sites for insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is a health condition that may cause a person’s blood sugar levels to rise. High blood glucose levels can result in severe health complications.

As such, to help manage the condition, health experts advise that people aim to keep their blood sugar range between 80 and 130 mg/dL before a meal and under 180 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal.

A doctor can help a person develop a care plan. This will typically involve discussing how best to monitor their blood sugar and advising how to keep blood glucose within a suitable range. This may include lifestyle changes such as encouraging physical activity and quitting smoking, if applicable.