Diabetes Glossary L

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


Labile Diabetes

A term used to indicate when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level often swings quickly from high to low and from low to high. Also called brittle diabetes.

Lactic Acidosis

The buildup of lactic acid in the body. The cells make lactic acid when they use glucose (sugar) for energy. If too much lactic acid stays in the body, the balance tips and the person begins to feel ill. The signs of lactic acidosis are deep and rapid breathing, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Lactic acidosis may be caused by diabetic ketoacidosis or liver or kidney disease.


A type of sugar found in milk and milk products (cheese, butter, etc.). It is considered a nutritive sweetener because it has calories.


A fine, sharp-pointed blade or needle for pricking the skin.

Laser Treatment

Using a special strong beam of light of one color (laser) to heal a damaged area. A person with diabetes might be treated with a laser beam to heal blood vessels in the eye. See also: Photocoagulation.

Latent Diabetes

Former term for impaired glucose tolerance. See also: Impaired glucose tolerance.

Lente Insulin

A type of insulin that is intermediate-acting.

Limited Joint Mobility

A form of arthritis involving the hand; it causes the fingers to curve inward and the skin on the palm to tighten and thicken. This condition mainly affects people with IDDM.


A term for fat. The body stores fat as energy for future use just like a car that has a reserve fuel tank. When the body needs energy, it can break down the lipids into fatty acids and burn them like glucose (sugar).


Small dents in the skin that form when a person keeps injecting the needle in the same spot. See also: Lipodystrophy.


Lumps or small dents in the skin that form when a person keeps injecting the needle in the same spot. Lipodystrophies are harmless. People who want to avoid them can do so by changing (rotating) the places where they inject their insulin. Using purified insulins may also help. See also: Injection site rotation.