Normal blood sugar level
Metabolic Health

Normal Blood Sugar Level

For an individual living with diabetes, one of the most important things to deal with would be their blood sugar levels. Have you been diagnosed with this condition? If yes, you know the daily struggles associated with keeping these levels in check and how almost everything in your life might revolve around the effective control of the sugars and maintaining a normal blood sugar level. Every decision that you might take would be preceded by the thought “how will this affect my blood sugars?” How exhausting must this get when each aspect in life, even seemingly insignificant ones like planning dinners, picnics, movies, etc would have to center around the managing of blood sugars. People living with diabetes do not have it easy. The internal struggle, however, goes unnoticed by most.

Table of Contents

What is blood glucose?

Blood glucose is the sugar that is found in the blood. This sugar comes from the food we eat and this is the main source of energy for our bodies. Glucose can also be formed in the body and stored for later user. The blood carries this glucose to all the cells in the body to use it for energy.

Over time, if there is too much glucose in the blood, it can cause some serious health issues. Sometimes problems may arise if the sugar level is either too low or too high even without being a diabetic.

What are Normal Blood Sugar Range?

To understand what the blood sugar level normal range would be, it would first be vital to understand why this topic is given so much importance. Basically, a person with diabetes has to deal with abnormal levels of glucose in their bloodstream. Due to the lack of production of insulin, there is no regulation of the overall glucose levels in the body which leads to a higher level of blood sugar range overall. These high levels, if they persist for a long time, could lead to several fatal complications and consequences in the person. This is why doctors emphasize the regular testing of sugars. If you encounter a person with diabetes or know someone who is living with it, you will almost always see them carry their glucometer around to be able to check their range at any point in time in case they are experiencing symptoms of highs or lows.

You might be thinking about what is the normal range for blood sugar now that you know why it is important to maintain normalcy. For any individual, whether they have diabetes or not, the normal blood sugar range would be 90-110 mg/dL. In a person living with diabetes, they have to struggle hard and make sure that their levels are also within this range for the maximum time. In case they experience too many highs or frequent lows, it may also affect their overall three-monthly HbA1c levels. A constant high HbA1c level could be detrimental and can have severe irreversible long-term impacts. Read more about gestational diabetes program.

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What are Normal Blood Glucose Range in Healthy Individuals?

In healthy individuals or people who are not dealing with diabetes, the blood sugar level normal range would be between 90-110 mg/dL. This range is not very rigid and at times even a reading of 130 or 140 mg/dL can be considered normal. To understand this better, you can look at the levels of blood sugar at different times in the day.

  • Fasting – Usually, the blood sugar range in the morning before breakfast can be anywhere around 80-100 mg/dL
  • Post meals – The post-meal sugar levels in healthy individuals can go up to 150 mg/dL without raising any alarm signs or warnings. This may depend on what they ate, their metabolism, body weight, etc.
  • Random – One of the most important indicators of a healthy individual would be a measure of their random blood sugar level. Anything between 90-130 mg/dL can be considered normal in a non-diabetic person.

Why Does Blood Glucose Level Rise in Diabetes?

 Blood sugars in diabetes play the most important role in the optimal management of the condition. When these levels fluctuate, a person with diabetes can undergo severe distress and may have to deal with the other complications associated with high or low blood sugars. When a person is newly diagnosed and for the caregivers too, it can be of great help to understand the physiology of the condition and what may cause rises and falls in the daily blood sugars.

A few things that may lead to spikes in blood sugars could be:

  • Diet – Any unhealthy diet like too much sugar, high carbs, excessive starch, etc can lead to a rise in blood sugars. 
  • Sedentary lifestyle – No or lack of physical activity can cause significant spikes in sugar levels. It would be best to monitor glucose levels with the help of a glucometer as too much exercise can also trigger physical stress leading to spikes. 
  • Smoking – Nicotine and tobacco consumption in the form of cigarettes can make it difficult for the blood sugars to be in the normal range. People who smoke might also require larger doses of insulin to keep their glucose levels in the normal range. 
  • Stress – An increase in the stress hormone- cortisol also affects blood sugars. High stress would lead to the production of cortisol which increases the glucose levels in the body and can reduce the efficacy of insulin. 
  • Sleep issues – Sleep hygiene is important to keep blood sugars on track. A proper sleep cycle plays a vital role in glycemic control. Lack of sleep can also trigger stress and improper regulation of insulin
  • Side effects of medication – Some medicines like corticosteroids, diuretics, BP meds, antidepressants, etc can have side effects that warrant blood sugars to spike.

 Blood Sugar Levels and Diabetes

The blood glucose level is the amount of glucose present in the blood. When we eat food, the body breaks down the food to form glucose, which is the main source of energy that is needed by the cells of the body. This glucose is sent to all the cells through the bloodstream as they need the glucose for energy. Diabetes is a problem within the body that causes blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal levels. This happens when the body is not able to produce a hormone called insulin in the required quantity or is not able to use the insulin properly.

Depending on the blood sugar levels, there are different types of diabetes. They are – prediabetes, diabetes type 1, diabetes type – 2 and gestational diabetes.

Tests for Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, and Prediabetes

All of us love to taste and try out different kinds of food. Food gives us energy and helps in sustaining our lives. It provides nutrients, macronutrients such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals to our body. All these are essential for the body to function well.

When we eat food, the body breaks down the food into glucose which is the main source of energy. This glucose enters the bloodstream and indicates the pancreas to let out a crucial hormone called insulin. Insulin is responsible to manage the glucose levels in the body. In persons with diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the cells of the pancreas which is liable to generate insulin. Therefore, the pancreas either stops producing insulin or is not able to use the insulin properly. A person can only know if he is diabetic only when the sugar levels are either too high or low. Some don’t even have any symptoms and so tests are required to confirm the sugar levels of a person.

There are different types of diabetes like prediabetes, type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. The following blood tests are done to find out the type of diabetes in a person –

A1C Test

This test is also called the Glycated Haemoglobin test. This test does not require to be on fasting. This test shows the percentage of blood sugar attached to haemoglobin. It generally shows the average glucose level over the past 2 or 3 months. If the level of A1C is 6.7 percent or higher in two separate tests, it means that the person is diabetic. When the level of A1C is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, it indicates that the person is prediabetic. When the A1C is below 5.7 percent, it is considered normal.

Fasting Blood Sugar Test

In fasting blood sugar test, the blood sample is taken from a person after fasting for 8 hours and the sugar levels are measured. If the sugar level on fasting is 99 mg/dL or less then, it is normal. The blood sugar fasting normal range is from 100 to 125 mg/dL specifies that the person is prediabetic and when the sugar level is higher than 126 mg/dL, this means the person is diabetic.

Glucose tolerance Test

This test is done first on fasting and then after consuming a drink containing glucose. The sugar level on fasting is noted down and you need to drink that contains glucose in it. After consuming the drink, the sugar levels are measured after 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours. If the reading of the sugar level after 2 hours is 140 mg/dL or lower than that, then it is normal. When the sugar level range is somewhere between 140 to 199 mg/dL, this means the person is prediabetic. If the reading is 200 mg/dL or above, this indicates that the person is diabetic.

Random Blood Sugar test

In random blood sugar test, the blood sugar levels are tested when the blood sample is taken randomly at any time. It does not require a person to be fasting and does not have to be at a specific time. When the measurement of the blood sugar level is 200 mg/dL or more than that, it means that the person is diabetic and it is a dangerous level of blood sugar.

What Causes High or Low Haemoglobin A1c Levels?

HbA1c is a measure of your long-term sugar levels and how well you can manage them. It gives you an idea of the overall control you have over your blood sugars and whether or not you need to put in more effort to ensure that they are in the optimal range. This is a blood test that needs to be done every 3 months for people with type 1 diabetes and between 3-6 months for T2Ds. 

Your Haemoglobin A1c levels can be affected by the following

  • Medical conditions like – kidney or liver disease, anemia, etc
  • Certain medications like – opioids, HIV medications,
  • Blood loss or blood transfusions
  • Pregnancy and other hormonal conditions like PCOS
  • Diet and lifestyle (as they are related to blood sugar levels) 
  • Sleep and stress management
  • Exercise 

A very high HbA1c would mean that the blood sugars are not under control. Identifying the reasons and eliminating them would work best in this case

Blood Sugar Levels Chart by Age for those with Diabetes

Now that you know how random blood sugar works with people who aren’t diagnosed, it would be important to gain an insight into how they look for people living with diabetes. This would help you manage your levels as you will know the desired range you need to get them down to. If you know someone who has been diagnosed, it can also be a guide for you to help them.

These levels will be depending on the age of the person diagnosed. Doctors often provide guidelines and a blood sugar levels chart by age to be able to cater to the specific needs of the person. Several factors can affect these levels in the age groups. Adults might have to deal with stress factors, children may have lower levels due to the exercise and playing that they indulge in, for the geriatric population, other comorbidities would play a role in the achievement of a normal blood sugar range most of the time. 

Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Children (Below 6 Years of Age)

For children, we see maximum fluctuations in a day as they are involved in several activities and situations that may increase or decrease their blood glucose levels. Essentially, a range as wide as 80 to 200 mg/dL can be considered normal for children under 6 years of age. Parents of children with diabetes might have to be super vigilant even in ensuring the random blood sugar normal range for children – especially after they sleep.

Time Normal blood sugar level Diabetic blood sugar level
Fasting 80-180 mg/dL Around 150-200 mg/dL
Before meals 100-180 mg/dL 120-200 mg/dL
After meals (2 hours) Around 180 mg/dL Around 180 mg/dL
Bedtime 110-200 mg/dL 100-200 mg/dL

Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Adolescents (6-12 Years of Age)

For any kids between the age range of 6 and 12, there is a fluctuation but not as much as for younger kids. Since they are active and in their formative years, they may have a faster metabolism and their bodies might be able to break down the glucose much faster. Teach the children to check their random blood sugar level regularly and notice signs of highs and lows.

Time Normal blood sugar level Diabetic blood sugar level
Fasting 80-180 mg/dL Around 150-200 mg/dL
Before meals 100-180 mg/dL 120-200 mg/dL
After meals (2 hours) Around 180 mg/dL Around 180 mg/dL
Bedtime 110-200 mg/dL 100-200 mg/dL

Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Teens (13-19 Years of Age)

Dealing with teenagers may not be an easy task in general, teaching them to take responsibility and manage their symptoms could prove to be an even tougher albeit important task for parents. They go to school, play sports, learn hobbies, sleepovers, and spend a lot of their time wanting to be away from constraints. To do that, they need to keep their random blood sugar and even overall HbA1c parameters in check.

Time Normal blood sugar level Diabetic blood sugar level
Fasting 70-150 mg/dL Around 150-180mg/dL
Before meals 90-130 mg/dL 120-160 mg/dL
After meals (2 hours) Up to 140 mg/dL Around 180 mg/dL
Bedtime 90-150 mg/dL 100-150 mg/dL

Normal Blood Sugar Levels Chart for Adults (20+ Years of Age)

Adults are responsible. Most of them are determined to ensure that this condition does not affect their lives with long-term effects. They would want to keep their levels in the normal blood sugar range so that they can go ahead with their daily routines as stress-free as possible.

Time Normal blood sugar level Diabetic blood sugar level
Fasting Less than 100mg/dL Around 100-150mg/dL
Before meals 70-130 mg/dL 90-160 mg/dL
After meals (2 hours) Less than 180 mg/dL Around 150 mg/dL
Bedtime 100-140 mg/dL 100-150 mg/dL

Low Blood Glucose Levels - Symptoms

One of the most dangerous things a person with diabetes could experience is low blood sugar. Recognizing the symptoms before it becomes fatal would be super important. Signs may differ, however, keep a lookout for a few common ones like:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Shaking/trembling of hands and feet
  • Palpitations and difficulty breathing
  • Tingling lips
  • Confusion, etc

If this happens, immediately check the sugar levels and take a tablet of glucose – 15 grams of glucose. 

High Blood Glucose Levels - Symptoms

Hyperglycemia may not be immediately fatal but can cause a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which can lead to a diabetic coma. Other chronic conditions like heart, liver, or kidney diseases are also common. 

Some symptoms to check for are:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Parched throat

In case the levels are more than 250/300 mg/dL, take an immediate correction dose to bring the blood sugar range to normal.

When things go awry

When we consume food, the pancreas starts working and releases enzymes and hormones. The enzymes help in breaking down the food and hormones help the body handle the inflow of glucose. One of the crucial hormones among these is insulin which is responsible to regulate the blood glucose levels in the body. This is the normal process the body does each time we intake food.

However, things go wrong when the pancreas does not make enough insulin needed by the body or stops making insulin completely. In that case, the sugar levels in the blood shoot up. This happens in the case of type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does make enough insulin but the cells fail to use them properly and so the glucose levels rise high. This is known as insulin resistance and the manifestation of type 2 diabetes.

Honestly, high glucose levels can seriously make you feel bad. Feeling thirsty, frequent urge to use the washroom, weight loss and fatigue are the symptoms of high blood glucose which is also called hyperglycemia. If this is not treated well, it may lead to serious issues such as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). Persistent blood glucose levels can land you into other complications which include heart, eye and kidney disease and also nerve damage.

When to see a Doctor 

Knowing when to see your endocrinologist is important in the life of any person with diabetes and even their caretakers. Learn all about the blood sugar levels and their normal ranges to be able to understand what to look out for. In case of frequent lows, unmanageable highs, traces of ketones in the urine, continuous blurred vision, etc. visit your doctor. Ideally, you should be visiting them every 3 months after your HbA1c test.

Treatment of Diabetes

Once the type of diabetes is confirmed, a person can proceed further with the treatment of diabetes accordingly. Regular blood sugar monitoring is essential to keep a tab on sugar levels. Apart from that taking insulin or oral medications are a part of the treatment process. However, to manage blood glucose levels effectively, it is essential to eat a healthy diet, stay at a healthy weight and stay active by involving in regular physical activities.

Embracing an active lifestyle is the first step and a very crucial one for managing diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight by including a healthy diet and good exercise plan needs to be a vital part of their lives.

Healthy eating

There is no particular diet for diabetes, however, people with diabetes need to focus on a healthy diet. Foods rich in nutrition and fibre and which are low in fats and calories such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins should be a part of the diet. Also, eliminate foods with saturated fats, sweets and refined carbohydrates.

One of the important aspects that one must figure out is what and how much to eat. This could be a challenge but it is always advisable to reach out to a registered dietician who can help and create a meal plan for you considering your food preferences, lifestyle and health goals.

Physical activity

Physical activities are a must and best for all groups of people for a healthy and active lifestyle, especially for people with diabetes. Physical activities like aerobics and exercise can lower blood glucose levels by moving the sugar into the cells where it is used for energy. Physical activity also increases insulin sensitivity in the body. It is best to pick up the activities that you enjoy like walking, swimming, cycling etc.

At least 30 minutes of daily physical activity is a must and avoid sitting in one place for a long time.

Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes can be prevented if taken care of at the early stages. When various tests are done to find out the blood sugar levels and if the results show positive for prediabetes, then it is good to get into the lifestyle program which will help in reversing diabetes without getting into any medications. A person with prediabetic is at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes but by taking part in the program, one can reduce the risk of getting diabetes by almost 60 percent.

Remedies For Low Sugar Levels

Low sugar levels in the body can have fatal effects. A person is asked to take extra care and caution to make sure that their sugar levels do not drop to an extent where most organs, including the heart, are deprived of the required glucose to function. Recognizing low sugars and identifying patterns, if any, would help significantly in preventing them. If you are dealing with hypoglycemia, here is what you can do to treat it

  • Identify the signs and symptoms of lows. It may be different for different people and it may also not be consistent throughout each low that you are dealing with. The most common symptoms would be – dizziness, inability to see well, headache, hunger, shaking hands and legs, sweating, etc. 
  • Check your blood sugars to know how much sugar you would have to consume. It would be best to check the levels before you eat anything sweet just to be sure.
  • 15 grams of sugar needs to enter your body. You can do this in the form of 3-4 glucose tablets, one tube of glucose gel, some hard candy, fruit juice, 1 tablespoon of honey, etc.
  • Check your sugar levels 15 minutes after eating. In case they are still below 70mg/dL, eat another 15 grams of sugar and monitor them after 15 minutes 
  • If your sugars are too low that you pass out, keep people around you posted about what to do in this scenario. You will need a glucagon injection because you will not be able to swallow liquids in an unconscious state. 
  • The best remedy for hypoglycemia would be prevention

Remedies For High Sugar Level

  • If your sugar levels are high, you will need to administer a correction dose. This means taking an injection or a dose of insulin that will bring the levels down. Notice signs of hyperglycemia and before administering insulin, always check your sugar levels. Sometimes, the signs of hypo and hyperglycemia can feel the same. 
  • Keep track of your blood sugars to identify patterns in spikes. You can do this with a glucometer or with a CGM device. 
  • Check for ketones in the body using a urine strip if the sugars are constantly and persistently above 250mg/dL
  • Make use of technology like the insulin pump as it may help to provide continuous and timely doses of insulin. Pairing your pump with the CGM device can act as a pseudo-pancreas as the advanced technology will do all the work automatically. 
  • Drink a lot of water and go for a small brisk walk/exercise to lower your sugar levels. Exercise should only be done if your body is not too fatigued after the spike. 
  • Monitor your levels again before you consume food to know how much insulin you may have to take.

Bottomline

Maintaining normal diabetes level in the body becomes the first and most important task of any person with diabetes. Since frequent highs and lows in the blood sugars can lead to several complications and issues, recognizing the signs and ensuring that you are able to catch them early on and deal with them fast enough. For different age groups, the levels of high, normal, and low might differ. Ensure to be aware of all the aspects depending on the age of diagnosis of the person with diabetes. Also, understand when you would have to visit your doctor – usually, this would be the case in case there are frequent and uncontrolled sugar levels. Take care of your diabetes, in the best possible way.

FAQs

what is the normal blood sugar level?

The normal blood sugar level is less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L). A blood sugar range of more than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) indicates that you have diabetes, and a sugar level between 140 and 199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L and 11.0 mmol/L) suggests you have prediabetes

What is a high random glucose level?

Often the diabetes sugar levels is set and the concept of normal is defined. Random glucose means the reading on the blood glucose monitor at any non-specific point in the day. Any reading above the level of 150mg/dL might be considered high. While people may have varied definitions of what they may call ‘high’ this number could be set as a baseline limit. A reading of 150 or even 160 may not require a correction dose. However, once the sugar levels move upwards and the readings go above, that is when action might be needed. 

Another important factor that needs to be taken into consideration here would be why the random glucose is high. In case there is ongoing stress, the consumption of something sweet, improper injection of insulin, etc – identify the cause and take appropriate action.

What is the maximum limit of random blood sugar?

Your sugar levels can go very high. However, the normal range for a random reading would be between 90-150mg/dL. At times, after a heavy or carb-filled lunch, the random sugars might be even higher. Most often than not, the normal range for random blood sugar is often followed by most people who stick to a routine of regular diet and physical exercise. However, incessant eating of sugary items, greater body fats, etc might lead sugar levels to even go up to the level of 600/700. This level of hyperglycemia can often have devastating consequences.

How do you control random blood sugar?

It is highly important to keep your sugar level normal. The dedication and hard work required to do so would be highly beneficial in the short and long term too. Ensuring that you are taking the right steps to keep these levels in check can be done in the following ways:

  • Eating healthily and on time
  • Taking the required dose for the number of carbs you are consuming
  • Planning and managing sick days well.
  • Exercising regularly to ensure proper metabolic health. 
  • Not forgetting the doses of insulin.

What is Normal Sugar Level by Age?

If you have a kid aged between 0 to 5 years, they can have a blood sugar level between 100 to 180 mg/dL. This level will remain in the range of 80 to 140 for children aged 6 to 9 years. And kids aging ten years and above will have a blood sugar range of 70 to 120. When we talk about adults, the normal range of blood sugar should always be less than 140 mg/dL.

Is Blood Sugar of 135 High Before Eating?

The recommended blood sugar level after fasting should be around 70 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL. But if your blood glucose levels are more than 130 mg/dL, even without having food for the past 8 hours or more, you may have fasting hyperglycemia. It is a very common diabetes complication. 

What is the Normal Sugar Level Before Food?

Blood sugar levels are relatively at their lowest before a meal. The normal blood sugar levels after fasting for eight hours or more are usually less than 100 mg/dL. This range can reach up to 140 mg/dL after two hours of having food. If you don’t have diabetes, you can witness your blood sugar levels ranging from 70 mg/dL to 80 mg/dL. 

What is the normal range of blood sugar in India?

A blood sugar (glucose) level below 140 mg/dL is considered normal among most Indian adults. If this range hovers from 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL, it indicates the person has prediabetes. But if the sugar levels exceed the 200 mg/dL mark, it points toward diabetes.  

What is a Rather Good Blood Sugar Level in the Morning?

If you’re planning to take your blood sugar readings in the morning before breakfast, it should be around 70 mg/dL to 100 mg/dL. This range is considered normal and is often reported by non-diabetic people. But if you take the glucose reading after breakfast, the readings can spike. Even in the morning, the normal diabetes level should not exceed 140 mg/dL. If it does, talk to your doctor. 

Is 135 Blood Sugar Level High in the Morning?

Blood sugar levels exceeding 126 mg/dL in the morning indicate hyperglycemia. If you take the blood sugar reading on an empty stomach in the morning, and it still shows you glucose levels exceeding the 126 mg/dL mark, it highlights hyperglycemia. You should report it to your doctor and start timely treatment. 

What is the Best Time to Ideally Check Your Blood Sugar Level?

If you’re taking multiple injections a day, you may be recommended to check blood sugar readings before meals and even at bedtime. But if you’re in the category of intermediate to long-acting insulin, you may be asked to check it before breakfast and bedtime. If you’re too concerned regarding your blood sugar levels, get yourself a constant glucose monitor device for real-time glucose updates.   

What is the Normal Sugar(Glucose) Level After Food?

Normal blood sugar levels after having food can vary from person to person, but it should not cross the 140 mg/dL mark. If it does, you might want to report your readings to a doctor. If the blood sugar levels fall in the range of 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL, it indicates prediabetes, and any reading exceeding 200 mg/dL points toward diabetes.

What is the Normal Sugar Level for Non-diabetics?

Anyone who hasn’t been diagnosed with diabetes should have a blood sugar level of less than 100 mg/dL after approximately eight hours of fasting. This level can touch the 140 mg/dL mark after two hours of having a meal. Normal blood sugar levels are generally in the range of 70 mg/dL to 110 mg/dL for non-diabetics. 

What Blood Sugar Should You Go to The Hospital For?

Blood sugar too high or too low can make you land in a hospital. If you have blood sugar levels less than 70 mg/dL, you may approach a doctor for hypoglycemia. You may also have to visit a doctor or hospital if your blood sugar levels exceed the 300 mg/dL mark. Both are terrible positions to be in.

Is 200 Blood Sugar Normal After Eating?

Irrespective of what you had for your meal, a blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or more highlights diabetes. Since the body takes time to process the food you had, you should always take your blood sugar readings after two hours of having a meal. It will give you a relatively accurate reading of your blood glucose levels. 

How Soon After Waking Up Should You Test My Blood Sugar?

Since people can now check their blood sugar levels at home, doctors generally recommend fasting blood sugar test almost immediately after waking up. An empty stomach is generally the best time to test blood sugar in the morning. You should get the reading done when you haven’t had breakfast or any morning drink. 

What is the Ideal Blood Sugar (Glucose) for a 5-Year-Old Child?

The normal blood sugar level for a five-year child should be around 80 mg/dL to 180 mg/dL. The normal range limit will keep narrowing as the child grows older. If you think your little one is at risk of developing diabetes, you should take regular readings and report any high levels to a doctor for immediate action.

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