A B C D E G H I K L M N P R S T
process that involves thickening of the blood vessel walls thought
to be related to inflammation of the vessel wall, which then leads
to formation of plaques, causing partial blockages. If these
plaques rupture, clots form on that rupture site, causing a more
acute, total blockage. If the blood vessel is providing blood to
the heart, the result would be a heart attack.
Autoimmune Disease: Disorder of the body's
immune system in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and
destroys body tissue considered foreign such as in thyroid,
diabetes, and celiac diseases.
Basal Insulin: The insulin that controls blood
glucose levels between meals and overnight.
Beta Cells: Cells in the pancreas that produce
Blood Glucose (or glucose): A type of sugar
that is created when the carbohydrate that one eats is broken down
in the body. During digestion, glucose passes through the wall of
the intestine into the bloodstream to the liver and eventually into
the general circulation. From there, glucose can then enter
individual cells or tissues throughout the body to be used for fuel
and provide energy.
Body Mass Index (BMI): A method of determining
by the relationship between height and weight whether or not a
person is obese, overweight, underweight, or of normal weight.
Bolus Insulin: Insulin that is released when
food is eaten. A bolus is a burst of insulin that is delivered by
injection or by the insulin pump to cover the carbohydrates in a
meal or snack or to correct for a high blood glucose level.
Carbohydrate: The main source of fuel for the
body. Carbohydrate includes starches and sugars and are found in
bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, milk, and sweets. Carbs are
broken down into a sugar called glucose.
Carbohydrate Counting: A meal planning method
commonly used by people with diabetes to plan their food and meal
choices. Carbohydrate counting helps one achieve a balance between
the amount of carbohydrate foods eaten and the available
Cholesterol: A type of fat that is manufactured
in the liver or intestines, but is also found in some of the foods
we eat. (Only animal foods, such as eggs, milk, cheese, liver,
meat, and poultry contain cholesterol).
Clinical Trials: Carefully controlled studies
that are conducted to test the effectiveness and safety of new
drugs, medical products, or techniques. All drugs in the U.S.
undergo three phases of clinical trials before being approved for
Dawn Phenomenon: A rise in blood glucose levels
that occurs in the early morning hours.
DCCT: The Diabetes Control and Complications
Trial. A very large trial of people ages 13 to 39 years old, which
showed that lower Hemoglobin A1C values resulted in a decreased
risk for eye, kidney, and nerve problems. It ended in June
Diabetes Educator: A healthcare person who has
the skill and knowledge to teach a person with diabetes how to
manage the condition. Diabetes educators may be physicians, nurses,
dietitians, mental health, or fitness clinicians. Some also may
have the credential CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator).
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (also called ketoacidosis or
DKA): A condition that results from a lack of sufficient
insulin in the body, leading to high blood glucose levels and
ketone formation. It is an extremely serious and life-threatening
condition that may lead to coma and death. The symptoms of
ketoacidosis are nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, chest pain, rapid
shallow breathing, and difficulty staying awake.
Endocrinologist: A physician who specializes in
diseases of the endocrine system such as diabetes.
Gastroparesis: A condition in which neuropathy
affects the nerves controlling the digestive tract and causes
difficulty processing or disposing of food. It can cause nausea,
vomiting, bloating, or diarrhea.
Glucagon: A hormone that causes the blood sugar
to rise. It is given by injection to people when they have become
unconscious or have a seizure because of a low blood sugar.
Glucose: A simple form of sugar that is created
when the body's digestive processes break down the food we eat.
Glucose is the body's main source of energy.
Glycemic Index (GI): A system of ranking foods
containing equal amounts of carbohydrate according to how much they
raise blood glucose levels. For instance, the carbohydrate in a
slice of 100% stone-ground whole wheat bread (a low glycemic index
food) may have less impact on blood glucose than a slice of
processed white bread (a high glycemic index food). The GI is an
additional meal planning tool to help one understand how
carbohydrate foods can differ in their effects on blood
Glycogen: Glucose that is stored in muscles and
HDL (high-density lipoprotein - also called "good"
cholesterol): A type of blood cholesterol that sweeps
excess cholesterol from the blood back to the liver where it is
reprocessed or eliminated.
Hemoglobin A1C: A blood test that measures
average blood glucose over the past 2 to 3 months and is the best
way to measure overall glucose control. It should be measured 2 to
4 times a year and the goal is less than 7%.
Hormones: Chemical messengers made in one part
of the body that transfer "information" through the bloodstream to
cells in another part of the body. Insulin is a hormone.
Honeymoon Phase: The time right after the
diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes when the pancreas is still making some
Hyperglycemia: High blood glucose levels. Blood
glucose is generally considered "high" when it is 160 mg/dl or
above your individual blood glucose target.
Hypertension: High blood pressure (blood flows
through the blood vessels with a greater than normal force) which
is defined as blood pressure equal to or greater than 130/80mm Hg
for adults or greater than the 95th percentile for age in children
and affects the majority of adults with diabetes. It increases
one's risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney problems.
Hypoglycemia: The term used for a low blood
Hypoglycemia Unawareness: A condition in which
one no longer recognizes the symptoms of low blood glucose.
Infusion Set: Plastic tubing used with an
Insulin: A hormone made in the pancreas that
helps glucose pass into the cells where it is used to create energy
for the body.
Insulin Pen: An insulin delivery method that
looks like a writing pen.
Insulin Pump: A method of delivering
basal/bolus insulin through an external device.
Insulin Resistance: A condition that makes it
harder for the cells to properly use insulin. Teenagers, those who
are overweight, and those with a family history of type 2 diabetes
are at greater risk for insulin resistance.
Insulin Sensitivity Factor (also called the correction
factor): The amount of blood glucose measured in mg/dl
that is lowered by 1 unit of rapid-acting or regular insulin. The
insulin sensitivity factor is used to calculate the amount of
insulin you need to return blood glucose to within your target
blood glucose range.
Insulin-to-Carbohydrate Ratio: A method of
determining how much rapid-acting insulin is needed to cover the
carbohydrate eaten at a meal or snack.
Islet Cell Antibody: The material in a person's
blood that shows they have had an allergy against the cells in the
pancreas (the islet cells) that make insulin.
Islet Cells: Cells that make insulin and are
found within the pancreas; also called pancreatic beta cells.
Islet of Langerhans: Cells found in the
Ketones: The chemicals that appear in the urine
when not enough insulin is present and fat is broken down.
Ketosis: The excessive formation of ketones in
Lancet: A small needle used to get a drop of
blood from your finger, arm, or other site. The blood is placed on
a special strip, which is put into the meter. The meter "reads" the
strip and gives a blood glucose reading.
Lifestyle Changes: Changes made to one's eating
habits and physical activity in order to control blood glucose.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein or bad
cholesterol): A type of blood cholesterol that can be
deposited in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack or
Microalbuminuria: The presence of small amounts
of albumin, a protein, in the urine. Microalbuminuria is an early
sign of kidney damage.
Nephropathy: Serious kidney disease that can
occur in people who have had diabetes for a long time, particularly
if their diabetes has been poorly controlled.
Neuropathy: Damage to the nerves. It is a
condition that can be very debilitating and painful. There are two
main types of neuropathy, depending on which nerve cells are
damaged. One type is called sensory neuropathy, which affects
feelings in the legs or hands and is referred to as peripheral
neuropathy. The other type is autonomic neuropathy, which affects
nerves that control various organs, such as the stomach or urinary
Nocturnal Hypoglycemia: Low blood glucose that
occurs in the middle of the night.
Nutritive or Caloric Sweeteners: Sweeteners
that contribute calories and can affect blood glucose levels.
Pancreas: A small gland located below and just
behind the stomach that makes a specific kind of hormone called
Proliferative Retinopathy: A more serious stage
of diabetic retinopathy in which there is a greater loss of vision
or even total blindness. During this stage, abnormal blood vessels
grow over the surface of the retina.
Protein: One of the main nutrients from food
along with carbohydrate and fat. The body uses protein to build and
repair body tissue. Muscles, organs, bones, skin, and many of the
hormones in the body are made from protein. As a secondary role,
protein can also provide energy for the body if carbohydrate is not
available. Food sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish,
eggs, dairy products, and beans.
Rapid-Acting Insulin: A type of insulin that
begins to work to lower blood glucose within 10 to 30 minutes and
works hardest 30 minutes to 3 hours after injection. There are
three approved rapid-acting insulins: Humalog, Novolog, and
Rebound Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose or the Somogyi
Phenomenon): A condition in which, as a result of too low
a level of glucose, the counter regulatory or stress hormones cause
the liver to release too much glucose.
Retinopathy: Damage to the retina, the thin,
light-sensitive inner lining in the back of the eye. This damage
occurs to the small blood vessels in the retina which are easily
harmed by high levels of glucose in the blood.
Saturated Fat: A type of food fat that is solid
at room temperature. Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol levels
by interfering with the entry of cholesterol into cells causing
cholesterol to remain in the bloodstream longer and to become a
part of the plaque that builds up in the blood vessels.
Self-Monitoring: Managing one's diabetes by
checking blood glucose, and being aware of food intake, physical
activity and medication and how each of these elements work
together in order to keep blood glucose in good control.
Sugar Alcohols or Polyols: Sweeteners that
replace other sugars in foods causing slightly lower rises in blood
Trans Fats: A type of fat formed from
hydrogenation, a chemical process that changes a liquid oil into a
solid fat. Trans fats are found in processed foods, such as snack
foods, cookies, fast foods, and some stick or solid margarines.
They can raise cholesterol levels and should be eaten in as small
amounts as possible.
Triglycerides: A type of fat stored in fat
cells as body fat and burned for energy. High levels of
triglycerides are linked with an increased risk of heart and blood