Health & Wellness Articles

SparkPeople Health Measurements

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

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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
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

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