acanthosis nigricans: a skin condition characterized by darkened skin patches; common in people whose body is not responding correctly to the insulin that they make in their pancreas, a condition called insulin resistance. This skin condition is also seen in people who have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

acarbose: an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Acarbose slows down the digestion of foods high in carbohydrate, such as rice, bread, milk, and fruit. The result is a slower and lower rise in blood glucose throughout the day, especially right after meals. Acarbose belongs to the class of medicines called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. (Brand name: Precose.)

ACE inhibitor: an oral medicine that lowers blood pressure; ACE stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme. For people with diabetes, especially those who have protein (albumin) in the urine, it also helps slow down kidney damage.

acesulfame potassium: a dietary sweetener with no calories and no nutritional value. Also known as acesulfame-K. (Brand name: Sunett.)

Actoplus Met: the brand name of an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes; a combination of pioglitazone and metformin.

Actos: see pioglitazone.

acute: describes something that happens suddenly and for a short time. Opposite of chronic, or long lasting.

acute renal failure: sudden and temporary loss of kidney function. See chronic kidney disease.

adhesive capsulitis: a condition of the shoulder associated with diabetes that results in pain and loss of the ability to move the shoulder in all directions.

adult-onset diabetes: former term for type 2 diabetes.

AGEs: stands for advanced glycosylation end products. AGEs are produced in the body when glucose links with protein. They play a role in damaging blood vessels, which can lead to diabetes complications.

albumin: the main protein in blood. Over several years, people who are developing diabetic kidney disease leak small amounts of albumin into the urine, a condition called microalbuminuria. As kidney disease progresses, more albumin leaks into the urine, a condition called macroalbuminuria or proteinuria. As the amount of albumin in the urine increases, the kidneys' ability to filter the blood decreases.

albuminuria: a condition in which the urine has more than normal amounts of a protein called albumin. Albuminuria may be a sign of nephropathy, or kidney disease. See albumin.

alpha cell: a type of cell in the pancreas. Alpha cells make and release a hormone called glucagon. The body sends a signal to the alpha cells to make glucagon when blood glucose falls too low. Then glucagon reaches the liver where it tells the liver to release glucose into the blood for energy.

alpha-glucosidase inhibitor: a class of oral medicine for type 2 diabetes that slows down the digestion of foods high in carbohydrate, such as rice, bread, milk, and fruit. The result is a slower and lower rise in blood glucose after meals. (Generic names/Brand names: acarbose/Precose; miglitol/Glyset.)

alternative site testing: using areas of the body other than the fingertips for blood glucose monitoring.

Amaryl: see glimepiride.

amputate: to cut a part, such as a foot, from the body.

amylin: a hormone formed by beta cells in the pancreas. Amylin regulates the timing of glucose release into the bloodstream after eating by slowing the emptying of the stomach.

amylin mimetic: a type of injectable medicine for diabetes that mimics the effect of the hormone amylin. This medicine helps food move more slowly through the stomach and helps keep the liver from releasing stored glucose. (Generic name/Brand name: pramlintide acetate/ Symlin.)

amyotrophy: a type of neuropathy resulting in pain, weakness, or wasting in the muscles.

anemia: a condition in which the number of red blood cells is less than normal, resulting in less oxygen being carried to the body's cells. Anemia can cause extreme fatigue.

angiopathy: any disease of the blood vessels (arteries, capillaries, veins) or lymphatic vessels.

antibodies: proteins made by the body to protect itself from foreign substances such as bacteria or viruses. People get type 1 diabetes when their bodies make antibodies that destroy the body's own insulin-making beta cells.

A1C: a test that measures a person's average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes joins with the glucose in the bloodstream. Also called hemoglobin A1C or glycosylated hemoglobin, the test shows the amount of glucose that sticks to the red blood cell, which is proportional to the amount of glucose in the blood. Results are given as a percentage or as an average glucose value, called an estimated average glucose.

Apidra: see insulin glulisine.

ARB: an oral medicine that lowers blood pressure. ARB stands for angiotensin receptor blocker. For people with diabetes, especially those who have protein (albumin) in the urine, it also helps slow down kidney damage.

arteriosclerosis: see atherosclerosis.

artery: a large blood vessel that carries blood with oxygen from the heart to all parts of the body.

aspartame: a dietary sweetener with almost no calories and no nutritional value.

atherosclerosis: clogging, narrowing, and hardening of the body's large blood vessels, also called arteries. Atherosclerosis can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attacks, peripheral arterial disease, strokes, and transient ischemic attacks. It can also damage the arteries that go to the kidneys.

athlete's foot: a fungal infection of the skin on the foot, also called tinea pedis. The fungus is common in people with diabetes, the elderly, and people with an impaired immune system. The skin may peel, crack, bleed, or cause pain. Some people have no symptoms and do not know they have an infection. The affected skin is also more vulnerable to bacteria that cause cellulitis.

Common Types of Athlete's Foot

  • moccasin, which affects the soles of the feet
  • interdigital, which affects the skin between the toes
  • inflammatory or blistering, which affects the soles and sides of the feet

autoimmune disease: a disorder of the body's immune system in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys body tissue that it believes to be foreign.

autonomic neuropathy: a type of neuropathy affecting the lungs, heart, stomach, intestines, bladder, or genitals.

Avandamet: the brand name of an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes; a combination of rosiglitazone and metformin.

Avandaryl: the brand name of an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes; a combination of rosiglitazone and glimepiride.

Avandia: see rosiglitazone.

B

background retinopathy:

a type of damage to the retina of the eye marked by bleeding, fluid accumulation, and abnormal dilation of the blood vessels. Background retinopathy is an early stage of diabetic retinopathy. Also called simple or nonproliferative retinopathy.

basal rate:

a continuous supply of low levels of longer-acting insulin, as used in insulin pumps.

beta cell:

a cell that makes insulin. Beta cells are located in the islets of the pancreas.

biguanide:

a class of oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver. This type of medicine also helps treat insulin resistance, a condition in which the body doesn't use insulin the way it should. (Generic names/Brand names: metformin/Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Riomet.)

blood glucose:

the main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy. Also called blood sugar.

blood glucose level:

the amount of glucose in a given amount of blood. In the United States, blood glucose levels are noted in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL.

blood glucose meter:

a small, portable machine used by people with diabetes to check their blood glucose levels. After pricking the skin with a lancet, one places a drop of blood on a test strip in the machine. The meter then displays the blood glucose reading.

blood glucose monitoring:

checking blood glucose levels by using a blood glucose meter or blood glucose test strips that change color when touched by a blood sample in order to manage diabetes.

blood pressure:

the force of blood exerted on the inside walls of blood vessels. Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers. For example, a blood pressure result of 120/80 is said as "120 over 80." The first number is the systolic pressure, or the pressure when the heart pushes blood into the arteries. The second number is the diastolic pressure, or the pressure when the heart rests.

blood sugar:

see blood glucose.

blood sugar level:

see blood glucose level.

blood urea nitrogen (BUN):

a waste product in the blood from the breakdown of protein. The kidneys filter blood to remove urea. As kidney function decreases, the BUN level increases.

blood vessels:

tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins.

BMI:

To find BMI: Multiply body weight in pounds by 703. Divide that number by height in inches. Divide that number by height in inches again. Find the resulting numberin the chart below.

18 and below is underweight.19 to 24 is normal.25 to 29 is overweight.30 and above is obese.

body mass index (BMI):

a measure used to evaluate body weight relative to a person's height. BMI is used to find out if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

body tissue:

a group of cells in the body that performs a specific function.

bolus:

an extra amount of insulin taken to cover an expected rise in blood glucose, often related to a meal or snack.

borderline diabetes:

a former term for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

brittle diabetes:

a term used when a person's blood glucose level moves often from low to high and from high to low.

BUN:

see blood urea nitrogen.

bunion:

a bulge on the first joint of the big toe, caused by the swelling of a fluid sac under the skin. This spot can become red, sore, and infected.

Byetta:

see exenatide.

C

callus:

a small area of skin, usually on the foot, that has become thick and hard from rubbing or pressure.

calorie:

a unit representing the energy provided by food. Carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol provide calories in the diet. Carbohydrate and protein have 4 calories per gram, fat has 9 calories per gram, and alcohol has 7 calories per gram.

Candida:

a fungus that is normally found in the body but commonly becomes overgrown in people with diabetes. Overgrowth is due to increased sugar in the body and a weakened immune system. Use of antibiotics or birth control pills also increases the risk of candida overgrowth. Candida overgrowth can lead to infection, causing itching, skin lesions, or rash. Some common areas of infection are in or around the mouth, armpits, groin, vagina, and nails.

CAPD:

see continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis under dialysis.

capillary:

the smallest of the body's blood vessels. Oxygen and glucose pass through capillary walls and enter the cells. Waste products such as carbon dioxide pass back from the cells into the blood through capillaries.

capsaicin:

an ingredient in hot peppers that can be found in ointment form for use on the skin to relieve pain from diabetic neuropathy.

carbohydrate:

one of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide carbohydrate are starches, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and sugars.

Drawing of a carton of milk, a bag of tortilla chips, a tub of ice cream, a potato, a bowl of rice, an apple, and a roll.
Sources of carbohydrate

carbohydrate counting:

a method of meal planning for people with diabetes based on counting the number of grams of carbohydrate in food.

cardiologist:

a doctor who treats people who have heart problems.

cardiovascular disease:

disease of the heart and blood vessels (arteries, capillaries, and veins).

carpal tunnel syndrome:

a common form of neuropathy occurring with diabetes. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include nighttime hand tingling and pain and numbness and weakness in the hand and wrist that sometimes radiates up the arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome often affects both wrists and occurs more often in women than men.

cataract:

clouding of the lens of the eye.

CCPD:

see continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis under dialysis.

CDE:

see certified diabetes educator.

celiac disease:

the inability to digest and absorb proteins called gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and prevents absorption of nutrients. Also called celiac sprue, gluten intolerance, and nontropical sprue.

cellulitis:

a skin infection caused by bacteria that gets into the skin through a wound. Cellulitis may develop from skin problems such as ulcers, eczema, psoriasis, or a fungal infection like athlete's foot. People with diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or a weakened immune system may develop cellulitis. If not treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread to the blood or lymph nodes and cause death.

cerebral vascular disease:

damage to blood vessels in the brain. Vessels can burst and bleed or become clogged with fatty deposits. A stroke results when blood flow is interrupted and brain cells die or are damaged.

certified diabetes educator (CDE):

a health care professional with expertise in diabetes education who has met eligibility requirements and successfully completed a certification exam. See diabetes educator.

CGMS:

see continuous glucose monitoring system.

Charcot's foot:

a condition resulting from nerve damage in which the joints and soft tissue in the foot are destroyed.

cheiroarthropathy:

see limited joint mobility.

cheiropathy:

see limited joint mobility.

chlorpropamide:

an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Chlorpropamide lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Chlorpropamide belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Diabinese.)

cholesterol:

a type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood. Cholesterol is also found in some foods. The body uses cholesterol to make hormones and build cell walls.

chronic:

describes something that is long-lasting. Opposite of acute.

chronic kidney disease (CKD):

any condition that causes reduced kidney function over a period of time. CKD is present when a patient's glomerular filtration rate remains below 60 milliliters per minute for more than 3 months. CKD may develop over many years and lead to end-stage renal disease.

circulation:

the flow of blood through the body's blood vessels and heart.

CKD:

see chronic kidney disease.

claudication:

see intermittent claudication.

coma:

a sleeplike state in which a person is not conscious. A coma may be caused by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) in people with diabetes.

combination diabetes pill:

a pill that includes two or more different medicines.

combination therapy:

the use of different medicines together to manage blood glucose levels.

complications:

harmful effects of diabetes such as damage to the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nervous system, teeth and gums, feet and skin, or kidneys. Studies show that keeping blood glucose, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels close to normal can help prevent or delay these problems.

congenital defects:

problems or conditions that are present at birth.

congestive heart failure:

the type of heart failure in which loss of the heart's pumping power causes fluid to build up in the body.

constipation:

a condition in which the stool becomes hard and dry. A person who is constipated usually has fewer than three bowel movements in a week. Bowel movements may be painful.

continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis:

see continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis under dialysis.

continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis :

see continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis under dialysis.

continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS):

a small sensor inserted below the skin that measures blood glucose levels approximately 12 times an hour.

continuous subcutaneous insulin injection:

see insulin pump.

conventional therapy:

a term used in clinical trials where one group receives treatment for diabetes in which A1C and blood glucose levels are kept at levels based on current practice guidelines. However, the goal is not to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible, as is done in intensive therapy. Conventional therapy includes use of medication, meal planning, and exercise, along with regular visits to health care providers.

coronary artery disease:

see coronary heart disease.

coronary heart disease:

heart disease caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. If the blood supply is cut off the result is a heart attack.

C-peptide:

a substance the pancreas releases into the bloodstream in equal amounts to insulin. A test of C-peptide levels shows how much insulin the body is making.

C-reactive protein:

a substance produced in the liver in response to injury or inflammation. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein are associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

creatinine:

a waste product from meat protein in the diet and from the muscles of the body. Creatinine is removed from the body by the kidneys; as kidney disease progresses, the level of creatinine in the blood increases.

creatinine clearance:

a test that measures how efficiently the kidneys remove creatinine and other wastes from the blood. Low creatinine clearance indicates impaired kidney function.

CSII (continuous subcutaneous insulin injection):

see insulin pump.

D

dawn phenomenon:

the early-morning (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) rise in blood glucose.

DCCT:

see Diabetes Control and Complications Trial.

debridement:

removal of dead or infected tissue from a wound. Debridement can be done with enzymes; mechanically, such as in a whirlpool; or through surgery.

dehydration:

the loss of too much body fluid through frequent urinating, sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.

dermopathy:

disease of the skin.

dextrose:

simple sugar found in blood that serves as the body's main source of energy. Also called glucose.

DiaBeta:

see glyburide.

diabetes:

a condition characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) resulting from the body's inability to use blood glucose for energy. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin; therefore, blood glucose cannot enter the cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, either the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly. Also called diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT):

a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, conducted from 1983 to 1993 in people with type 1 diabetes. The study showed that intensive therapy compared with conventional therapy significantly helped prevent or delay diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease, and nerve disease. Intensive therapy included multiple daily injections of insulin or the use of an insulin pump with multiple blood glucose readings each day.

diabetes educator:

a health care professional who teaches people who have diabetes how to manage their condition. Some diabetes educators are certified diabetes educators (CDEs). Diabetes educators are found in hospitals, physician offices, managed care organizations, home health care, and other settings.

diabetes insipidus:

a condition characterized by frequent and heavy urination, excessive thirst, and an overall feeling of weakness. This condition may be caused by a defect in the pituitary gland or in the kidney. In diabetes insipidus, blood glucose levels are normal.

diabetes mellitus:

see diabetes.

Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP):

a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases conducted from 1998 to 2001 in people at high risk for type 2 diabetes. All study participants had impaired glucose tolerance, also called prediabetes, and were overweight. The study showed that people who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through a low-fat, low-calorie diet and moderate physical activity-usually walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week-reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Participants who received treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 31 percent.

diabetes self-management:

see self-management.

diabetic diarrhea:

loose stools, fecal incontinence, or both that result from an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine and diabetic neuropathy in the intestines. This nerve damage can also result in constipation.

diabetic eye disease:

see diabetic retinopathy.

diabetic gastropathy:

see gastropathy.

diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA):

an emergency condition in which extremely high blood glucose levels, along with a severe lack of insulin, result in the breakdown of body fat for energy and an accumulation of ketones in the blood and urine. Signs of DKA are nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, fruity breath odor, and rapid breathing. Untreated DKA can lead to coma and death.

diabetic myelopathy:

damage to the spinal cord found in some people with diabetes.

diabetic nephropathy:

see nephropathy.

diabetic neuropathy:

see neuropathy.

diabetic retinopathy:

damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. Loss of vision may result. Also called diabetic eye disease.

diabetogenic:

causing diabetes. For example, some drugs cause blood glucose levels to rise, resulting in diabetes.

diabetologist:

a doctor who specializes in treating people who have diabetes.

Diabinese:

see chlorpropamide.

diagnosis:

the determination of a disease from its signs and symptoms.

dialysis:

the process of cleaning wastes from the blood artificially. This job is normally done by the kidneys. If the kidneys fail, the blood must be cleaned artificially with special equipment. The two major forms of dialysis are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis

hemodialysis: the use of a machine to clean wastes from the blood after the kidneys have failed. The blood travels through tubes to a dialyzer, a machine that removes wastes and extra fluid. The cleaned blood then flows through another set of tubes back into the body.

 

Drawing of a woman sitting in a chair and reading while she undergoes hemodialysis.
Hemodialysis

peritoneal dialysis: cleaning of the blood by using the lining of the abdominal cavity, or belly, as a filter. A cleansing liquid, called dialysis solution, is drained from a bag into the abdomen. Fluid and wastes flow through the lining of the abdominal cavity and remain "trapped" in the dialysis solution. The solution is then drained from the abdomen, removing the extra fluid and wastes from the body. The two main types of peritoneal dialysis are continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis.

 

continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD): a form of peritoneal dialysis that needs no machine. With CAPD, the blood is always being cleaned. The dialysis solution passes from a plastic bag through a catheter and into the abdomen. The dialysis solution stays in the abdomen with the catheter sealed. After several hours, the person using CAPD drains the solution back into a disposable bag. Then the person refills the abdomen with fresh solution through the same catheter to begin the cleaning process again.

 

continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD): a form of peritoneal dialysis that uses a machine. This machine automatically fills and drains the dialysis solution from the abdomen. A typical CCPD schedule involves three to five exchanges during the night while the person sleeps. During the day, the person using CCPD performs one exchange, draining the dialysis solution after an entire day.

 

dialysis solution:

a cleansing liquid used in the two major forms of dialysis-hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Dialysis solution contains dextrose, a sugar, and other chemicals similar to those in the body. Dextrose draws wastes and extra fluid from the body into the dialysis solution.

diastolic pressure:

the blood pressure when the heart rests.

dietitian:

a health care professional who advises people about meal planning, weight control, and diabetes management. A registered dietitian (RD) has met certain requirements.

dilated eye exam:

a test done by an eye care specialist in which the pupil-the black center-of the eye is temporarily enlarged with eyedrops to allow the specialist to see the inside of the eye more easily.

Drawing of an eye with a dilated pupil.
Dilated eye

Drawing of an eye with an undilated pupil.
Undilated eye

dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor:

see DPP-4 inhibitor.

DKA:

see diabetic ketoacidosis.

D-phenylalanine derivative:

a type of oral medicine for type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. (Generic name/Brand name: nateglinide/Starlix.)

DPP:

see Diabetes Prevention Program.

DPP-4 inhibitor:

a class of oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the body make more insulin when it's needed. This type of medicine also helps keep the liver from putting stored blood glucose into the blood. (Generic name/Brand name: sitagliptin phosphate/Januvia.)

Duetact:

the brand name of an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes; a combination of pioglitazone and glimepiride.

Dupuytren's contracture:

a condition associated with diabetes in which the fingers and the palm of the hand thicken and shorten, causing the fingers to curve inward.

duration:

in referring to insulin, the length of time during which insulin keeps lowering blood glucose levels. Duration may also refer to the length of time a person has had diabetes, which determines a person's risk of developing diabetes complications.

E

eAG:

see estimated average glucose.

edema:

swelling caused by too much fluid in the body.

electromyography (EMG):

a test used to detect nerve function. Electromyography measures the electrical activity generated by muscles.

EMG:

see electromyography.

endocrine gland:

a group of specialized cells that release hormones into the blood. For example, the islets in the pancreas, which secrete insulin, are endocrine glands.

endocrinologist:

a doctor who treats people who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes.

end-stage renal disease (ESRD):

total and permanent kidney failure. When the kidneys fail, the body retains fluid. Harmful wastes build up. A person with ESRD needs treatment to replace the work of the failed kidneys.

enzyme:

protein made by the body that brings about a chemical reaction-for example, the enzymes produced by the gut to aid digestion.

erectile dysfunction:

the inability to get or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Also called impotence.

ESRD:

see end-stage renal disease.

estimated average glucose

also called eAG or average glucose; another way to report the results of an A1C test. The A1C test measures average glucose levels over the past 2 to 3 months. In the past, results were reported as a percentage. Results reported as an eAG are given as mg/dL, the same units used for self-monitoring of blood glucose with a blood glucose meter. For example, results of an A1C test can be reported as an eAG of 126 mg/dL, which is equal to 6 percent.

euglycemia :

a normal level of glucose in the blood.

exchange lists:

one of several approaches for diabetes meal planning. Foods are categorized into three groups based on their nutritional content. Lists provide the serving sizes for carbohydrates, meat and meat substitutes, and fats. These lists allow for substitution for different groups to keep the nutritional content fixed.

exenatide:

an injectable medicine for diabetes that mimics the effect of incretin hormones, a type of gastrointestinal hormone. This medicine helps food move more slowly through the stomach and helps keep the liver from releasing stored glucose. (Brand name: Byetta.)

F

fasting blood glucose test:

a check of a person's blood glucose level after the person has not eaten for 8 to 12 hours-usually overnight. This test is used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes; it is also used to see whether people with diabetes are keeping blood glucose levels on target.

fat:

1. one of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products.

2. excess calories are stored as body fat, providing the body with a reserve supply of energy and other functions.

Drawing of a piece of meat, a carton of whole milk, a wedge of cheese, a bottle of salad dressing , a bottle of oil, and two small butter containers.
Sources of fat

fluorescein angiography: a test to examine blood vessels in the eye that is done by injecting dye into an arm vein and then taking photos as the dye goes through the eye's blood vessels.

focal neuropathy: a type of neuropathy in which a single nerve or a group of nerves is affected, producing sudden weakness or pain.

fructosamine test: measures the number of blood glucose molecules linked to protein molecules in the blood. The test provides information about a person's average blood glucose level for the previous 3 weeks.

fructose:

a sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and honey. Fructose has 4 calories per gram.

G

GAD65:

see islet cell autoantibodies.

gangrene:

the death of body tissue, most often caused by a lack of blood flow and infection. Gangrene can lead to amputation.

gastrointestinal:

related to the stomach and intestines.

gastroparesis:

a form of neuropathy that affects the stomach. Digestion of food may be incomplete or delayed, resulting in nausea, vomiting, or bloating, making blood glucose control difficult.

gastropathy:

a form of neuropathy that affects the stomach. Symptoms may include nausea, discomfort, a feeling of fullness, and vomiting. The stomach may be delayed in emptying, called gastroparesis.

GDM:

see gestational diabetes mellitus.

gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM):

a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy and usually disappears upon delivery, but increases the mother's risk of developing diabetes later in life. GDM is managed with meal planning, physical activity, and, in some cases, medication.

GFR:

see glomerular filtration rate.

gingivitis:

gland:

a group of cells that secrete substances. Endocrine glands secrete hormones. Exocrine glands secrete salt, enzymes, and water.

glaucoma:

an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that may lead to vision loss.

glimepiride:

an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Glimepiride lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Glimepiride belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Amaryl.)

glipizide:

an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Glipizide lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Glipizide belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL.)

glomerular filtration rate (GFR):

the rate at which the kidneys filter wastes and extra fluid from the blood, measured in milliliters per minute.

glomeruli:

plural of glomerulus.

glomerulus:

a tiny set of looping blood vessels where the blood is filtered in the kidney.

glucagon:

a hormone produced by the alpha cells in the pancreas. Glucagon raises blood glucose. An injectable form of glucagon, available by prescription, may be used to treat severe hypoglycemia.

Glucophage, Glucophage XR:

see metformin.

glucose:

one of the simplest forms of sugar.

glucose gel:

pure glucose in gel form used for treating hypoglycemia.

glucose tablets:

chewable tablets made of pure glucose used for treating hypoglycemia.

Drawing of a container of glucose tablets with several tablets next to the container.
Glucose tablets

glucose tolerance test:

see oral glucose tolerance test.

Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL:

see glipizide.

Glucovance:

the brand name of an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes; a combination of glyburide and metformin.

glyburide:

an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Glyburide lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Glyburide belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase.)

glycemic index:

a ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods, based on the food's effect on blood glucose compared with a standard reference food.

glycemic load:

a ranking of a carbohydrate-containing food, based on the food's glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrate in a typical serving.

glycogen:

the form of glucose found in the liver and muscles; the main source of stored fuel in the body.

glycosuria:

the presence of glucose in the urine.

glycosylated hemoglobin:

see A1C.

Glynase PresTab:

see glyburide.

Glyset:

see miglitol.

gram:

a unit of weight in the metric system. An ounce equals 28 grams. In some meal plans for people with diabetes, the suggested amounts of food are given in grams.

H

HDL cholesterol:

stands for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is a fat found in the blood that takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal. Sometimes called "good" cholesterol.

heart attack:

a condition in which the blood vessels to the heart become totally or partially blocked by fatty deposits. When the blood supply is cut off or reduced, oxygen and other needed supplies can't get through. Then heart muscle can die. Also called a myocardial infarction.

heart failure:

a chronic condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.

hemodialysis:

see dialysis.

hemoglobin A1C test:

see A1C.

heredity:

the passing of a trait from parent to child.

HHNS:

see hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome.

high blood glucose:

see hyperglycemia.

high blood pressure:

see hypertension.

high-density lipoprotein cholesterol:

see HDL cholesterol.

HLA:

see human leukocyte antigens.

home glucose monitor:

see blood glucose meter.

honeymoon phase:

temporary remission of hyperglycemia that occurs in some people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, when some insulin secretion resumes for a short time-for example, a few months-before stopping again.

hormone:

a chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same or different from those made in the body.

Humalog:

see insulin lispro.

Humalog Mix 50/50:

see pre-mixed insulin.

Humalog Mix 75/25:

see pre-mixed insulin.

human leukocyte antigens (HLA):

proteins located on the surface of the cell that help the immune system identify the cell either as one belonging to the body or as one from outside the body. Some patterns of these proteins may mean increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Humulin:

see pre-mixed insulin.

Humulin 70/30:

see pre-mixed insulin.

Humulin N:

see NPH insulin.

Humulin R:

see regular insulin.

hyperglycemia:

higher than normal blood glucose. Fasting hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level after a person has fasted for at least 8 hours. Postprandial hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level 1 to 2 hours after a person has eaten.

hyperinsulinemia:

a condition in which the level of insulin in the blood is higher than normal. Caused by overproduction of insulin by the body. Related to insulin resistance.

hyperlipidemia:

higher than normal fat and cholesterol levels in the blood.

hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS):

an emergency condition in which one's blood glucose level is very high and ketones are not present in the blood or urine. If HHNS is not treated, it can lead to coma or death.

hypertension:

a condition present when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal. Also called high blood pressure. Hypertension can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and death.

Drawing of a doctor in a white coat checking a patient’s blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff on the patient’s arm. The doctor and patient’s faces are not shown.
Checking blood pressure

hypoglycemia:

also called low blood glucose, a condition that occurs when one's blood glucose is lower than normal, usually below 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness. Hypoglycemia is treated by consuming a carbohydrate-rich food such as glucose tablets or juice. Hypoglycemia may also be treated with an injection of glucagon if the person is unconscious or unable to swallow. Also called an insulin reaction.

hypoglycemia unawareness:

a state in which a person does not feel or recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia. People who have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia may no longer experience hypoglycemia's typical warning signs.

hypotension :

low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Hypotension may occur when a person rises quickly from a sitting or reclining position, causing dizziness or fainting.

I

IA-2A:

see islet cell autoantibodies.

IAA:

see islet cell autoantibodies.

ICA512:

see islet cell autoantibodies.

ICA:

see islet cell autoantibodies.

IDDM:

see insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

IFG:

see impaired fasting glucose.

IGT:

see impaired glucose tolerance.

immune system:

the body's system for protecting itself from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances.

immunosuppressant:

a drug given to stop the natural responses of the body's immune system. Immunosuppressants are given to prevent organ rejection in people who have received organ transplants and to patients with autoimmune diseases.

impaired fasting glucose (IFG):

a condition in which a fasting blood glucose test shows a level of glucose higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IFG, also called prediabetes, is a level of 100 to 125 mg/dL. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

impaired glucose tolerance (IGT):

a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT, also called prediabetes, is a level of 140 to 199 mg/dL 2 hours after the start of an oral glucose tolerance test. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Other names for IGT that are no longer used are "borderline," "subclinical," "chemical," or "latent" diabetes.

implantable insulin pump:

a small pump placed inside the body to deliver insulin in response to remote-control commands from the user.

impotence:

see erectile dysfunction.

incidence:

a measure of how often a disease occurs; the number of new cases of a disease among a certain group of people for a certain period of time.

incontinence:

loss of bladder or bowel control; the accidental loss of urine or feces.

incretin mimetic:

a type of injectable medicine for diabetes that mimics the effect of incretin hormones, a type of gastrointestinal hormone. This medicine helps food move more slowly through the stomach and helps keep the liver from releasing stored glucose. (Generic name/Brand name: exenatide/Byetta.)

inhaled insulin:

a type of insulin under development taken with a special device that enables the user to breathe in insulin through the mouth.

injection:

inserting liquid medication or nutrients into the body with a syringe.

injection site rotation:

changing the places on the body where insulin is injected. Rotation prevents the formation of lipodystrophies.

injection sites:

places on the body where insulin is injected.

insulin:

a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or other means.

insulin adjustment:

a change in the amount of insulin a person with diabetes takes based on factors such as meal planning, activity, and blood glucose levels.

insulin aspart:

a rapid-acting insulin with an onset of 15 minutes, a peak at 30 to 90 minutes, and a duration of 3 to 5 hours. (Brand name: NovoLog.)

insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM):

former term for type 1 diabetes.

insulin detemir:

a long-acting insulin with an onset of 1 hour, no peak, and a duration of 20 to 26 hours. (Brand name: Levemir.)

insulin glargine:

a type of long-acting insulin with an onset of 1 hour, no peak, and a duration of 20 to 26 hours. (Brand name: Lantus.)

insulin glulisine:

a type of rapid-acting insulin with an onset of 15 minutes, a peak at 30 to 90 minutes, and a duration of 3 to 5 hours. (Brand name: Apidra.)

insulin infuser:

a device for taking insulin in which a small tube is inserted just below the skin and remains in place for several days. Insulin is injected into the end of the tube.

insulin lispro:

a type of rapid-acting insulin with an onset of 15 minutes, a peak at 30 to 90 minutes, and a duration of 3 to 5 hours. (Brand name: Humalog.)

insulinoma:

a tumor of the beta cells in the pancreas. An insulinoma may cause the body to make extra insulin, leading to hypoglycemia.

insulin pen:

a device for injecting insulin that looks like a fountain pen and holds replaceable cartridges of insulin. Also available in disposable form.

insulin pump:

an insulin-delivering device about the size of a deck of cards that can be worn on a belt or kept in a pocket. An insulin pump connects to narrow, flexible plastic tubing that ends with a needle inserted just under the skin. Users set the pump to give a steady trickle or basal amount of insulin continuously throughout the day. Pumps release bolus doses of insulin at meals and at times when blood glucose is too high, based on doses set by the user.

insulin reaction:

when the level of glucose in the blood is too low (below 70 mg/dL). Also called hypoglycemia.

insulin receptors:

areas on the outer part of a cell that allow the cell to bind with insulin in the blood. When the cell and insulin bind, the cell can take glucose from the blood and use it for energy.

insulin resistance:

the body's inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. Insulin resistance may be linked to obesity, hypertension, and high levels of fat in the blood.

insulin shock:

see hypoglycemia.

intensive therapy:

a treatment for diabetes in which blood glucose is kept as close to normal as possible. Optimal blood glucose levels are reached through frequent injections of insulin or use of an insulin pump, meal planning, adjustment of medicines, and physical activity. People undergoing intensive therapy work closely with their health care team.

intermediate-acting insulin:

a type of insulin with an onset of 1 to 3 hours, a peak at 8 hours, and a duration of 12 to 16 hours. See NPH insulin.

intermittent claudication:

pain that comes and goes in the muscles of the leg. This pain results from a lack of blood supply to the legs and usually happens when walking or exercising.

intramuscular injection:

inserting liquid medication into a muscle with a syringe. Glucagon may be given by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection for hypoglycemia.

islet cell autoantibodies (ICAs):

proteins found in the blood of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They are also found in people who may be developing type 1 diabetes. The presence of ICAs indicates that the body's immune system has been damaging beta cells in the pancreas. The antibodies that are routinely tested for include IAA, IA-2A, ICA512, and GAD65 (also called GAD or GADA).

islets:

groups of cells located in the pancreas that make hormones that help the body break down and use food. For example, alpha cells make glucagon and beta cells make insulin. Also called islets of Langerhans.

islets of Langerhans:

see islets.

islet transplantation:

moving the islets from a donor pancreas into a person whose pancreas has stopped producing insulin. Beta cells in the islets make the insulin that the body needs for using blood glucose.

J

Janumet:

the brand name of an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes; a combination of sitagliptin phosphate and metformin.

Januvia:

see sitagliptin phosphate.

jet injector:

a device that uses high pressure instead of a needle to propel insulin through the skin and into the body.

juvenile diabetes:

former term for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), or type 1 diabetes.

K

ketoacidosis:

see diabetic ketoacidosis.

ketone:

a chemical produced when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood and the body breaks down body fat for energy. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis and coma. Sometimes referred to as ketone bodies.

ketonuria:

a condition occurring when ketones are present in the urine, a warning sign of diabetic ketoacidosis.

ketosis::

a ketone buildup in the body that may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Signs of ketosis are nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

kidney:

one of the two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes from the blood. The kidneys are located near the middle of the back, one on each side of the spine. They create urine, which is delivered to the bladder.

Drawing of a body torso showing the kidneys, with the kidneys labeled.
Kidneys

kidney disease:

see nephropathy.

kidney failure:

loss of kidney function. See acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal disease.

Kussmaul breathing:

the rapid, deep, and labored breathing of people who have diabetic ketoacidosis.

Lactic acidosis:

a serious condition in which there is a buildup of lactic acid in the body. Lactic acidosis can result from diabetic ketoacidosis, liver disease, or kidney disease.

LADA:

see latent autoimmune diabetes in adults.

lancet:

a spring-loaded device used to prick the skin with a small needle to obtain a drop of blood for blood glucose monitoring.

Lantus:

see insulin glargine.

laser treatment:

a type of therapy that uses a strong beam of light to treat a damaged area. The beam of light is called a laser. A laser is sometimes used to seal blood vessels in the eye of a person with diabetes. See photocoagulation.

latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA):

a type of diabetes, usually first diagnosed after age 30, in which people show signs of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Most people with LADA still produce their own insulin when first diagnosed and do not require insulin injections. Some experts believe that LADA is a slowly developing kind of type 1 diabetes because patients have antibodies against the insulin-producing beta cells.

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

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