Blood Glucose Goals in the Hospital

The American Diabetes Association recommends the following targets for blood glucose levels in the hospital:

  • If you are critically ill, your blood glucose levels should be kept as close to 110 mg/dl as possible and generally below 140 mg/dl. In this situation, your blood glucose levels will generally be controlled with an intravenous insulin drip.
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  • If you are not critically ill, blood glucose goals are less specific. However, research suggests that hospitalized patients do better when their fasting blood glucose level is below 126 mg/dl and any random (nonfasting) blood glucose measurements are below 180—200 mg/dl. Insulin is the preferred drug to maintain blood glucose control in most cases. It may or may not be delivered intravenously.

Guidelines for blood glucose control may vary slightly from one hospital to another. What’s important is that the hospital you choose have clear guidelines in place to manage your diabetes safely and effectively. Your physician and/or diabetes educator can be helpful resources in determining what to expect in terms of diabetes care in a hospital setting.