Monitoring your blood glucose levels helps you manage your diabetes and reduce the risk of complications.

There are two different ways to measure the amount of glucose in your blood:

1. Glycated haemoglobin or HbA1c: this is a measure of your average blood glucose over the past two to three months. Your doctor will order this check one to four times a year. HbA1c is measured in %. It is not the same as your blood glucose level measured by finger prick or sensor.

It’s useful to know what your HbA1c result is – ask your doctor and write it down. The higher your HbA1c, the greater your risk of diabetes complications.

What do the numbers mean?

6.0% – 6.4% means you have prediabetes, or are at high risk of developing diabetes
6.5% and over means you have diabetes

The following are recommendations only:
Less than 7.0% is the target range for most people with diabetes
Less than 7.5% is the target range for adolescents with type 1 diabetes
7.0% – 8.5% may be a target range for older people in care


2. Blood glucose level or BGL: this involves using a blood glucose meter and a finger prick sample to check your blood glucose level at a specific time. It’s a ‘snap-shot’ check which you can do yourself.

Not everyone with type 2 diabetes will need to monitor their BGLs every day. It is recommended that you monitor every day if you take insulin. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator if you are unsure.

If you are taking insulin, you may be able to check your blood glucose levels throughout the day and night using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) or flash glucose monitor (Flash GM). Visit the NDSS website to find our more.

BGLs are measured in mmol/L (millimoles per litre). BGLs normally go up and down throughout the day. Monitoring your BGLs regularly will allow you to understand your ‘daily pattern’, see the effects of certain foods or exercise, and it is the best way to know if your BGL is in a safe range.

What do the numbers mean?

Less than 4.0mmol/L if you have diabetes is too low. This is called a ‘hypo’ and need immediate treatment. See here for more.
Above 15.0mmol/L is considered too high, especially if it stays this high for the whole day or night. See here for more info on hyperglycaemia and sick days: type 2 sick days and type 1 sick days .

The following are recommendations only:
4 – 7.0mmol/L for fasting or as soon as you wake up
6.0 – 10.0mmol/L at least two hours after eating
Older people in care may require slightly higher target ranges

Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about your BGL target range.

When to check my BGLs?

The number of times a day you check your BGLs will depend on what type of treatment you are taking e.g. insulin. In general, you can check:

Do extra BGL checks:

Search Diabetes Tasmania