GLOSSARY

The list below provides definitions for some of the terms in this book, as well as some others you may hear in the course of your treatment for diabetes.

A

Albumin screen
Test for microalbuminuria, a condition that may indicate kidney disease.
Albuminuria
A condition where albumin (a type of protein) is present in the urine. This may be an indication of kidney disease.
ACE inhibitor
Medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
Arteries
The larger blood vessels in the body that carry blood away from the heart.
Atherosclerosis
A condition in which fat and cholesterol build up along the artery walls, causing them to narrow, harden, and become less elastic. Atherosclerosis is a major cause of heart disease and strokes.

B

Beta blocker
Medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure, angina, and irregular heart rhythms.
Beta cells
Cells that make and release insulin. These cells are found in the islets of Langerhans, in the pancreas.
Blood glucose (BG)
The amount of glucose in your blood

C

Carbohydrates
One of the 3 major types of nutrients in food (along with fat and protein). Carbohydrates are plentiful in starchy foods like bread and rice, and in fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose during digestion, and have a significant impact on your blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrate counting
A meal planning technique that requires you to count the number of carbohydrates you eat at each meal or snack time. A registered dietitian can teach you this technique, which can help you gain tighter control over blood glucose levels.
Cardiomyopathy
Heart muscle disease. Cardiomyopathy can make your heart pump less effectively.
Cataracts
Cloudiness on the lens of the eye.
Cholesterol
A type of lipid (fat) found in the blood. Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Coronary arteries
The arteries (large blood vessels) that feed your heart.

D

Diabetes care team
The healthcare providers who help you monitor and manage your diabetes. Your care team may include physicians, diabetes educators, pharmacists, and others.
Diabetes educators
(also called certified diabetes educators, or CDEs) Specially trained nurses, dietitians, or other healthcare providers who can help explain your diabetes and create individual treatment plans for you. They can also teach you skills such as how to take medication correctly, and offer support and encouragement to keep you on track. Educators can work with you individually, or in a diabetes education class.
Dialysis
A filtering procedure that removes waste from your bloodstream. People who have kidney failure must have regular dialysis to stay alive.
Diuretic
Medication used to help rid the body of excess fluid and salt. Diuretics are commonly used to control high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
Dyslipidemia
(also called high cholesterol) Abnormal levels of various types of cholesterol and fat in the blood.

E

Estimated Average Glucose (eAG)
A mathematical formula based on your HbA1c, that estimates your average fasting blood glucose values for the previous 3 months.
Enteropathy
Disease of the intestines.
Erectile dysfunction
When a man is less able to have and keep an erection.

F

Fasting plasma glucose (FPG)
Your blood glucose level after you have gone without food for at least 8 hours, or the blood test that measures this level.
Fat
One of the 3 major nutrients in food (along with protein and carbohydrate). All fats contain different percentages of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fat. Your body uses fats to repair cells and help cells send signals.

G

Gastroparesis
A condition in which the stomach becomes partially paralyzed, causing slower digestion.
Gestational diabetes
The type of diabetes that occurs in women during pregnancy. Although gestational diabetes goes away after the pregnancy, women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Glaucoma
Increased pressure in the eye.
Glucometer
A glucose meter.
Glucose
A simple form of sugar that is the body’s main source of fuel. It’s made when carbohydrates are broken down in the digestive system. It can also be produced from protein or fat in the liver or kidney.
Glucose meter
An electronic device used to measure blood glucose levels.

H

HbA1c
(also called A1C, or glycosylated hemoglobin) A blood test that measures the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin in your bloodstream. The result reflects your overall average blood glucose control over the previous 2-month to 3-month period.
HDL cholesterol
The “good” component of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol removes “bad” LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, helping to prevent its build-up along artery walls.
Hemochromatosis
(also called “bronze diabetes”) An inherited disorder that causes a person to absorb too much iron from a normal diet. This leads to an overload of iron in the body, and can sometimes cause a dark or bronze color in the skin. Unless it’s detected and treated early, hemochromatosis can damage your organs, causing a variety of diseases, including diabetes.
Hemoglobin (Hb)
A protein in your red blood cells.Hemoglobin carries oxygen, and is what makes your blood red-colored. It also picks up glucose from your bloodstream, becoming glycosylated (HbA1c is glycosylated hemoglobin).
Hyperglycemia
Too much glucose in the blood (high blood glucose).
Hypertension
High blood pressure.
Hypoglycemia
Too little glucose in the blood (low blood glucose).
Hypoglycemic unawareness
When the body does not experience (respond to or recognize) the symptoms of low blood glucose.

I

Insulin
A hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin is the “key” that “unlocks” your cells and allows glucose to enter. Once inside, the glucose can serve as fuel for the cells.
Insulin deficiency
When the pancreas has stopped — or nearly stopped — making insulin.
Insulin receptors
Structures on cell surfaces (or inside cells) that receive and bind a specific substance. For example, insulin binds to insulin receptors on the cell surface to allow glucose to enter the cell.
Insulin resistance
When the cells in the body do not respond properly to insulin. Insulin resistance is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes.
Intensive management
(also called intensive therapy) An aggressive way to manage blood glucose levels. It may include more frequent self-testing, a stricter meal plan, and the use (or more frequent use) of insulin.
Islets of Langerhans
Clumps of cells within the pancreas. These clumps contain the cells that make insulin (the beta cells). Transplanting islet cells from a donor pancreas to the body of a person with diabetes is a promising treatment for people with type 1 diabetes.

K

Ketoacidosis
A dangerous condition that can cause diabetic coma. Signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis include high blood glucose levels, ketones in the urine, low blood pressure, and breath with a fruity odor. Ketoacidosis occurs almost exclusively in people with type 1 diabetes.
Ketones
Chemicals produced when the body breaks down fat for fuel. Ketones in your urine signal high blood glucose.

L

LADA
(latent autoimmune diabetes in adults)
A slow-onset version of type 1 diabetes, that occurs only in adults.
LDL cholesterol
The “bad” component of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can stick to artery walls, narrowing and clogging them. The lower your LDL cholesterol level, the better.
Lipid
Fat or fat-like substances stored in the body.
Lipid profile
(also called lipid panel) A blood test that measures the lipids (fats) found in your blood. A full lipid profile will measure your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

M

Metabolic syndrome
(also called syndrome X) A set of health measurements that commonly result in an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. These measurements are obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL, high triglyceride levels, high blood glucose, and a large waistline (greater than 40 inches around for men, greater than 35 inches for women).
Metabolism
The physical and chemical processes that fuels the body’s most basic functions. The term often refers specifically to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder.
mg/dL
Milligrams per deciliter. In the United States, this is the unit of measure for blood glucose levels.

N

Nephropathy
Kidney disease.
Neuropathy
Nerve damage.

O

Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
A blood glucose test that requires you to drink a sugar solution, then have blood drawn at regular intervals (after 2 hours, after 3 hours, and so on). This test is often done during pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes.

P

Pancreas
The organ in your body that makes insulin.
Plasma
The liquid part of your blood. Most blood glucose readings are based on a sample of your plasma.
Plasma glucose (PG)
The amount of glucose in your plasma, the liquid part of your blood. Most blood glucose readings are based on a sample of your plasma.
Postprandial
After a meal. A common time to check your blood glucose is 2 hours postprandial.
Pre-diabetes
A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes — as well as increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. However, studies show that exercise and weight loss can delay, or perhaps even prevent, the onset of these problems.
Protein
One of the 3 major nutrients in food (along with fat and carbohydrate). Your body uses protein to build and repair muscles, bones, organs, and other tissues.

R

Random plasma glucose (RPG)
A blood glucose reading (or test) taken at random (not at a specified time of day, before or after eating or fasting).
Retinopathy
An eye disease caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the retina.

S

Statin
A type of medication used to lower blood cholesterol.

T

Triglycerides
A type of lipid (fat) found in the blood. High triglycerides are often found in people who have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. High triglycerides signal increased heart risk.
Type 1 diabetes
The type of diabetes that occurs when the pancreas has stopped — or nearly stopped — making insulin.
Type 2 diabetes
The type of diabetes that occurs when the body no longer uses insulin properly (insulin resistance), fails to make enough insulin, or has a combination of these problems.

V

Vascular disease
Blood vessel damage and disease. High blood glucose can cause vascular disease, which in turn may cause heart disease, strokes, and kidney and eye problems.

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