Diabetes has a great number of terms that are specific to diabetes or diabetic-like conditions. This glossary is meant as a guide to identify terminology often used extensively and liberally in the medical community.
Terms Listed Aphabetically
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Early stage of diabetic retinopathy; usually does not impair vision. Also called “nonproliferative retinopathy.”
Refers to a continuous supply of low levels of insulin, as in insulin pump therapy.
A type of cell in the pancreas in areas called the islets of Langerhans. Beta cells make and release insulin, a hormone that controls the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Beta Cell Transplantation
See: Islet cell transplantation.
Biosynthetic Human Insulin
A man-made insulin that is very much like human insulin. See also: Human insulin.
A type of insulin that is a mixture of intermediate- and fast-acting insulin.
The main sugar that the body makes from the three elements of food-proteins, fats, and carbohydrates-but mostly from carbohydrates. Glucose is the major source of energy for living cells and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. However, the cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin.
Blood Glucose Meter
A machine that helps test how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. A specially coated strip containing a fresh sample of blood is inserted in a machine, when then calculates the correct level of glucose in the blood sample and shows the result in a digital display. Some meters have a memory that can store results from multiple tests.
Blood Glucose Monitoring
A way of testing how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. A drop of blood, usually taken from the fingertip, is placed on the end of a specially coated strip, called a testing strip. The strip has a chemical on it that makes it change color according to how much glucose is in the blood. A person can tell if the level of glucose is low, high, or normal in one of two ways. The first is by comparing the color on the end of the strip to a color chart that is printed on the side of the test strip container. The second is by inserting the strip into a small machine, called a meter, which “reads” the strip and shows the level of blood glucose in a digital window display. Blood testing is more accurate than urine testing in monitoring blood glucose levels because it shows what the current level of glucose is, rather than what the level was an hour or so previously.
The force of the blood on the walls of arteries. Two levels of blood pressure are measured-the higher, or systolic, pressure, which occurs each time the heart pushes blood into the vessels, and the lower, or diastolic, pressure, which occurs when the heart rests. In a blood pressure reading of 120/80, for example, 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. A reading below 120/80 is said to be the normal range. Blood pressure that is too high can cause health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
A small instrument for pricking the skin with a fine needle to obtain a sample of blood to test for glucose (sugar). See also: Blood glucose monitoring.
See: Blood glucose
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
A waste product of the kidneys. Increased levels of BUN in the blood may indicate early kidney damage.
Tubes that act like a system of roads or canals to carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, veins, and capillaries. The heart pumps blood through these vessels so that the blood can carry with it oxygen and nutrients that the cells need or take away waste that the cells do not need.
An extra boost of insulin given to cover expected rise in blood glucose (sugar) such as the rise that occurs after eating.
A term no longer used. See: Impaired glucose tolerance.
A term used when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level often swings quickly from high to low and from low to high. Also called labile and unstable diabetes.
A genetic disease of the liver in which the body takes in too much iron from food. Also called “hemocromatosis.”
A bump or bulge on the first joint of the big toe caused by the swelling of a sac of fluid under the skin. Shoes that fit well can keep bunions from forming. Bunions can lead to other problems such as serious infections. See also: Foot care.