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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Healthy Lifestyles

SparkPeople Health Measurements

Track Your Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and More!

-- By Nicole Nichols, Health Educator
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An optimal reading is a systolic blood pressure (the top number) at or below 120 mm/Hg and a diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) at or below 80 mm/Hg. If your numbers are higher, click here to interpret them, as high blood pressure is a risk factor for other conditions, such as heart disease.

If your blood pressure is high, discuss it with your health-care provider for help lowering it. Lots of healthy lifestyle habits, from regular exercise to dietary changes can help you continue to improve your blood pressure over time, too.

Blood Sugar (Glucose)
A blood test ordered by your doctor can measure your blood glucose (sugar) level, which is measured in mg/dL. Healthy people without risk factors for insulin resistance don't need to monitor their blood glucose levels, but many individuals with insulin resistance, diabetes, pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes (during pregnancy) are instructed by their doctors to measure their blood glucose levels at home by using a blood glucose level testing kit. Your doctor, health care provider, dietitian and/or diabetes educator should have given you detailed instructions for how often to measure your blood glucose and how to interpret and remedy your results (if necessary). This can involve testing your blood sugar daily or multiple times per day, such as before exercise and after each meal.

In general terms, a daytime blood glucose range between 80 and 120 mg/dL is considered "normal." In the first hours after a meal, everyone—not just people with glucose problems—will experience a rise in blood sugar levels, typically to a level between 120 and 140 mg/dL. In general, a blood glucose reading lower than 70 mg/dL is too low. For most people, blood glucose levels that stay higher than 140 mg/dL (before meals) are too high. Your health care provider should have given you acceptable ranges and goals for your own blood glucose levels, so always refer to those first and foremost.

Any time you measure your blood glucose level, you can record it on SparkPeople to keep track of your results over time. Use this in conjunction with your Nutrition and Fitness Trackers to better understand how food, physical activity, and medications affect your glucose levels. Share this information with your health care providers to better balance your blood sugar levels and deal with any problems that you notice.

For more details about blood glucose testing and management, the CDC's online publication, Take Charge of Your Diabetes.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • I get my BP and glucose checked regularly and both are always great, with my BP always trending on the quite low side. I was quite happy to read about resting heart rate....isn't it best to test that upon waking, before getting out of bed....and taking an average of several days? I need to do that. - 8/18/2013 9:34:56 AM
  • All my life I had great bp. It run normal low [ 106 to116 over like 70] when it started staying around 140, my dr put me on meds.I am hoping by losing weight I can get off this med ,but I also know when you have diabetes they like you to take it as a prevention of kidney problems. My dr. done this years ago when my pressure was great, I work at a cleaning company and my readings was like 90/50 I could not bend without almost passing out and she told me to keep taking it, this was the one time I didn't do what she said. I didn't want to end up on the floor with injuries. - 9/8/2012 10:20:47 AM
  • I hope you all get/feel better soon. Since I have been doing this faithfully, I have been feeling great ( as long as I don't forget to take my medicine). As I have an AutoImmune disease called Sneddon's Syndrome. It's very rare; it messes with your blood, nerves, bones and whatever else it wants to hurt you with. It's attacked all those and left me with being disabled.

    This healthy, fun, and exciting site has given me hope, joy and feeling great!
    My prayers are with you all.
    - 5/2/2012 5:19:54 PM
  • I think every adult should test their blood sugar at some point, especially if you are over thirty. Test it fasting and then one and two hours after you finish eating a meal. You would be surprised how many people have blood sugar problems but haven't gotten fat, so they think their health is normal. That's a good way to wind up diabetic and not even know it was coming. - 3/1/2011 9:44:44 PM
  • I, too, have Hashimotos, and would like some information about this, and about living with it. Thank you for a wonderful site, for advice and help. You are all doing a GREAT job!! - 12/29/2010 11:38:33 PM
  • ITZMEPENNY
    I think it would be more useful to be able to track BP at least twice a day and to enter the time. That's what my doctor wants to see. - 11/7/2010 12:17:01 PM
  • PAMLOMBARDI
    I am postmenopausal for 5 years, taking BHRT, and thyroid meds. I have Hashimoto's but when last checked the antibodies are lowering slowly. Please add and address hypothyroid/Hashi
    moto's to the chronic conditions/dis-ea
    se. I release extra weight very slowly with a vigorous exercise plan and calorie restriction. - 2/8/2010 1:46:22 PM
  • I am in menopause and have METABOLIC SYNDROME/pre-diab
    etes, so this article is very helpful. 57 million Americans have this Syndrome, which is also called Insulin Resistance or Syndrome X. I learned a great deal about it from ARTHUR AGATSTON, M.D.'s book "The South Beach Heart Health Program" which was well worth reading. - 8/14/2009 1:34:22 AM