Diabetes Glossary S

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

S


Saccharin

A man-made sweetener that people use in place of sugar because it has no calories.

Saturated Fat

A type of fat that comes from animals. See also: Fats.

Secondary Diabetes

When a person gets diabetes because of another disease or because of taking certain drugs or chemicals.

Secrete

To make and give off such as when the beta cells make insulin and then release it into the blood so that the other cells in the body can use it to turn glucose (sugar) into energy.

Segmental Transplantation

A surgical procedure in which a part of a pancreas that contains insulin-producing cells is placed in a person whose pancreas has stopped making insulin.

Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose

A way as person can test how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. Also called home blood glucose monitoring. See also: Blood glucose monitoring.

Shock

A severe condition that disturbs the body. A person with diabetes can go into shock when the level of blood glucose (sugar) drops suddenly. See also: Insulin shock.

Sliding Scale

Adjusting insulin on the basis of blood glucose tests, meals, and activity levels.

Somatic Neuropathy

See: Peripheral neuropathy.

Somatostatin

A hormone made by the delta cells of the pancreas (in areas called the islets of Langerhans). Scientists think it may control how the body secretes two other hormones, insulin and glucagon.

Somogyi Effect

A swing to a high level of glucose (sugar) in the blood from an extremely low level, usually occurring after an untreated insulin reaction during the night. The swing is caused by the release of stress hormones to counter low glucose levels. People who experience high levels of blood glucose in the morning may need to test their blood glucose levels in the middle of the night. If blood glucose levels are falling or low, adjustments in evening snacks or insulin doses may be recommended. This condition is named after Dr. Michael Somogyi, the man who first wrote about it. Also called “rebound.”

Sorbitol

A sugar alcohol the body uses slowly. It is a sweetener used in diet foods. It is called a nutritive sweetener because it has four calories in every gram, just like table sugar and starch.

Sorbitol is also produced by the body. Too much sorbitol in cells can cause damage. Diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy may be related to too much sorbitol in the cells of the eyes and nerves.

Spilling Point

When the blood is holding so much of a substance such as glucose (sugar) that the kidneys allow the excess to spill into the urine. See also: Renal threshold.

Split Dose

Division of a prescribed daily dose of insulin into two or more injections given over the course of a day. Also may be referred to as multiple injections. Many people who use insulin feel that split doses offer more consistent control over blood glucose (sugar) levels.

Stiff Hand Syndrome

Thickening of the skin of the palm that results in loss of ability to hold hand straight. This condition occurs only in people with diabetes.

Stroke

Disease caused by damage to blood vessels in the brain. Depending on the part of the brain affected, a stroke can cause a person to lose the ability to speak or move a part of the body such as an arm or a leg. Usually only one side of the body is affected. See also: Cerebrovascular disease.

Subclinical Diabetes

A term no longer used. See: Impaired glucose tolerance.

Subcutaneous Injection

Putting a fluid into the tissue under the skin with a needle and syringe. See also: Injection.

Sucrose

Table sugar; a form of sugar that the body must break down into a more simple form before the blood can absorb it and take it to the cells.

Sugar

A class of carbohydrates that taste sweet. Sugar is a quick and easy fuel for the body to use. Types of sugar are lactose, glucose, fructose, and sucrose.

Sulfonylureas

Pills or capsules that people take to lower the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. See also: Oral hypoglycemic agents.

Symptom

A sign of disease. Having to urinate often is a symptom of diabetes.

Syndrome

A set of signs or a series of events occurring together that make up a disease or health problem.

Syndrome X

Term describing a combination of health conditions that place a person at high risk for heart disease. These conditions are noninsulin-dependent diabetes, high blood pressure, high insulin levels, and high levels of fat in the blood.

Syringe

A device used to inject medications or other liquids into body tissues. The syringe for insulin has a hollow plastic or glass tube (barrel) with a plunger inside. The plunger forces the insulin through the needle into the body. Most insulin syringes now come with a needle attached. The side of the syringe has markings to show how much insulin is being injected.

Systemic

A word used to describe conditions that affect the entire body. Diabetes is a systemic disease because it involves many parts of the body such as the pancreas, eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves.

Systolic Blood Pressure

See: Blood pressure.