Islets of Hope for persons with diabetes
Glossary of Diabetes Terms N-Z
Alphabetical Word Search
Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum: A skin condition usually on the lower part of the legs. Lesions can be small or extend over a large area. They are usually raised, yellow, and waxy in appearance and often have a purple border.
Neovascularization: The growth of new, small blood vessels. In the retina, this may lead to loss of vision or blindness.
Nephropathy: Disease of the kidneys. Hyperglycemia and hypertension can damage the kidneys' glomeruli. When the kidneys are damaged, protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys can no longer remove waste and extra fluids from the bloodstream.
Nerve Conduction Studies: Tests used to measure for nerve damage; one way to diagnose neuropathy.
Nerve Disease: See neuropathy.
Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM): Former term for type 2 diabetes.
Noninvasive Blood Glucose Monitoring: Measuring blood glucose without pricking the finger to obtain a blood sample.
NPH Insulin: An intermediate-acting insulin; NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. Also called N insulin.
OGTT: See oral glucose tolerance test.
Ophthalmologist: A medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases and eye disorders. Opthalmologists can also prescribe glasses and contact lenses.
Optometrist: Optometrists give eye health and vision examinations. They diagnose vision problems that affect a person's ability to see nearby and distant objects clearly and to judge distance. They also test the ability of the eyes to work together and to change focus easily. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct faulty vision
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): A test to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. The oral glucose tolerance test is given by a health care professional after an overnight fast. A blood sample is taken, then the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage. Blood samples are taken at intervals for 2 to 3 hours. Test results are compared with a standard and show how the body uses glucose over time.
Oral Hypoglycemic Agents: Medicines taken by mouth by people with type 2 diabetes to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Classes of oral hypoglycemic agents are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides, D-phenylalanine derivatives, meglitinides, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones.
Pancreas: An organ that makes insulin and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.
Pancreas Transplantation: A surgical procedure to
take a healthy whole or partial pancreas from a donor and place it into a person
Pediatric Endocrinologist: A doctor who treats children who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes.
Pedorthist: A health care professional who specializes in fitting shoes for people with disabilities or deformities. A pedorthist can custom-make shoes or orthotics (special inserts for shoes).
Periodontal Disease: Disease of the gums.
Periodontist: A dentist who specializes in treating people who have gum diseases.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) - See our PAD section.
Peripheral Neuropathy: Nerve damage that affects the feet, legs, or hands. Peripheral neuropathy causes pain, numbness, or a tingling feeling.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD): A disease of the large blood vessels of the arms, legs, and feet. PVD may occur when major blood vessels in these areas are blocked and do not receive enough blood. The signs of PVD are aching pains and slow-healing foot sores.
Peritoneal Dialysis: See dialysis.
Photocoagulation: A treatment for diabetic retinopathy. A strong beam of light (laser) is used to seal off bleeding blood vessels in the eye and to burn away extra blood vessels that should not have grown there.
Podiatrist: A doctor who treats people who have foot problems. Podiatrists also help people keep their feet healthy by providing regular foot examinations and treatment.
Podiatry: The care and treatment of feet.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Also called (outdated) Stein-Levinthal Syndrome, Polycystic Ovary Disease. An autoimmune disorder sometimes associated with epilpesy, but usually considered to be genetically inherited from either parent. It is a syndrome with a host of presentations including annovulation due to multiple cysts on the ovaries. However, PCOS is not a gynecological disorder. See PCOS for more information.
Polydipsia: Excessive thirst; may be a sign of diabetes.
Polyphagia: Excessive hunger; may be a sign of diabetes.
Polyuria: Excessive urination; may be a sign of diabetes.
Pre-Diabetes: A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for pre-diabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.
Premixed Insulin: A commercially produced combination of two different types of insulin. See 50/50 insulin and 70/30 insulin.
Preprandial Blood Glucose: The blood glucose level taken before eating.
Proinsulin: The substance made first in the pancreas and then broken into several pieces to become insulin.
Proliferative Retinopathy: A condition in which fragile new blood vessels grow along the retina and in the vitreous humor of the eye.
Prosthesis: A man-made substitute for a missing body part such as an arm or a leg.
Protein: 1. One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide protein include meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, dairy products, eggs, and dried beans. 2. Proteins are also used in the body for cell structure, hormones such as insulin, and other functions.
Proteinuria: The presence of protein in the urine, indicating that the kidneys are not working properly.
Pump: See insulin pump
Quandary: I could not come up with a real "Q" diabetes word but much of diabetes care is a quandary! How about Q for Quit smoking? Q for Q-tips are great for working canula adhesive off tiny bodies, or Q for the quiet times when we wistfully recall days before diabetes?
Rapid-Acting Insulin: A type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 5 to 10 minutes after injection and has its strongest effect 30 minutes to 3 hours after injection, depending on the type used. See aspart insulin and lispro insulin.
Rebound Hyperglycemia: A swing to a high level of glucose in the blood after a low level. See Somogyi effect.
Receptors: See insulin receptors.
Recognized Diabetes Education Programs: Diabetes self-management education programs that are approved by the American Diabetes Association.
Regular Insulin: A short-acting insulin. On average, regular insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 30 minutes after injection. It has its strongest effect 2 to 5 hours after injection but keeps working 5 to 8 hours after injection. Also called R insulin.
Renal: Having to do with the kidneys. A renal disease is a disease of the kidneys. Renal failure means the kidneys have stopped working.
Renal Threshold of Glucose: The blood glucose concentration at which the kidneys start to excrete glucose into the urine.
Retina: The light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye.
Retinopathy: See background retinopathy, proliferative retinopathy, and diabetic retinopathy.
Rosiglitazone: The active ingredient in the brand name drug Avandia.
Saccharin: A sweetener with no calories and no nutritional value.
Secondary Diabetes: A type of diabetes caused by another disease or certain drugs or chemicals.
Self-Management: In diabetes, the ongoing process of managing diabetes. Includes meal planning, planned physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, taking diabetes medicines, handling episodes of illness and of low and high blood glucose, managing diabetes when traveling, and more. The person with diabetes designs his or her own self-management treatment plan in consultation with a variety of health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and others.
70/30 Insulin: Premixed insulin that is 70 percent intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin and 30 percent short-acting (regular) insulin.
Sharps Container: A container for disposal of used needles and syringes; often made of hard plastic so that needles cannot poke through.
Short-Acting Insulin: A type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 30 minutes after injection and has its strongest effect 2 to 5 hours after injection. See regular insulin.
Side Effects: The unintended action(s) of a drug.
Sliding Scale: A set of instructions for adjusting insulin on the basis of blood glucose test results, meals, or activity levels.
Somogyi Effect: Also called rebound hyperglycemia -- when the blood glucose level swings high following hypoglycemia. The Somogyi effect may follow an untreated hypoglycemic episode during the night and is caused by the release of stress hormones.
Sorbitol: 1. A sugar alcohol (sweetener) with 4 calories per gram. 2. A substance produced by the body in people with diabetes that can cause damage to the eyes and nerves.
Split Mixed Dose: Division of a prescribed daily dose of insulin into two or more injections given over the course of the day.
Starch: Another name for carbohydrate, one of the three main nutrients in food.
Stein-Levinthal Syndrome: See polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Stroke: Condition caused by damage to blood vessels in the brain; may cause loss of ability to speak or to move parts of the body.
Subcutaneous Injection: Putting a fluid into the tissue under the skin with a needle and syringe.
Sucralose: A sweetener made from sugar but with no calories and no nutritional value.
Sucrose: A two-part sugar made of glucose and fructose. Known as table sugar or white sugar, it is found naturally in sugar cane and in beets.
Sugar: 1. A class of carbohydrates with a sweet taste; includes glucose, fructose, and sucrose. 2. A term used to refer to blood glucose.
Sugar Diabetes: Former term for diabetes mellitus.
Sulfonylurea: A class of oral medicine for type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. (Generic names: Acetohexamide, chlorpropamide, glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, tolazamide, tolbutamide.)
Syndrome X: Sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome X or metabolic syndrome.
Team Management: A diabetes treatment approach in which medical care is provided by a team of health care professionals including a doctor, a dietitian, a nurse, a diabetes educator, and others. The team act as advisers to the person with diabetes.
Tight Control: See intensive therapy.
Triglyceride: The storage form of fat in the body. High triglyceride levels may occur when diabetes is out of control.
Type 1 Diabetes: A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by a total lack of insulin. Occurs when the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.
Type 2 Diabetes: In type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and the other types of diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces (this is called "insulin resistance).
Ulcer: A deep open sore or break in the skin.
Ultralente Insulin: Long-acting insulin. On average, ultralente insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 4 to 6 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 10 to 18 hours after injection but keeps working 24 to 28 hours after injection. Also called U insulin.
Unit of Insulin: The basic measure of insulin. U-100 insulin means 100 units of insulin per milliliter (mL) or cubic centimeter (cc) of solution. Most insulin made today in the United States is U-100.
U-100: See unit of insulin.
Urea: A waste product found in the blood that results from the normal breakdown of protein in the liver. Urea is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys and then excreted in the urine.
Uremia: The illness associated with the buildup of urea in the blood because the kidneys are not working effectively. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, and mental confusion.
Urine: The liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and expelled from the body by the act of urinating.
Urine Testing: Also called urinalysis; a test of a urine sample to diagnose diseases of the urinary system and other body systems. In people with diabetes, a doctor may check for glucose and/or ketones (sign of diabetes or other disease), protein (possible kidney damage, or nephropathy [see albuminuria])), or white blood cells (sign of urinary tract infection). Urine may also be checked for blood. Some tests use a single urine sample, some require 24-hours collection. Urine may also be cultured to see what type of bacteria grows when infection is present.
Vascular: Relating to the body's blood vessels.
Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood to the heart.
Very-Long-Acting Insulin: A type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 1 hour after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours after injection.
Wound Care: Steps taken to ensure that a wound such as a foot ulcer heals correctly. People with diabetes need to take special precautions so wounds do not become infected. See "Wound Care" section.
Xylitol: A carbohydrate-based sweetener found in plants and used as a substitute for sugar; provides calories. Found in some mints and chewing gum.
Glossary of Numbers
50/50 insulin: Premixed insulin that is 50 percent intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin and 50 percent short-acting (regular) insulin.
70/30 Insulin: Premixed insulin that is 70 percent intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin and 30 percent short-acting (regular) insulin.
U-100: See unit of insulin.
Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations
A1 or A1c: Hemoglobin A1c, also called HA1c, HbA1c, HgA1c, glycosylated hemoglobin test. A test that measures a person's average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months. Hemoglobin (HEE-mo-glo-bin) is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes joins with the glucose in the bloodstream. Also called hemoglobin A1C or glycosylated (gly-KOH-sih-lay-ted) hemoglobin, the test shows the amount of glucose that sticks to the red blood cell, which is proportional to the amount of glucose in the blood.
AB: Antibodies. Proteins made by the body to protect itself from "foreign" substances such as bacteria or viruses. People get type 1 diabetes when their bodies make antibodies that destroy the body's own insulin-making beta cells
ADA: American Diabetes Association
AN: Acanthosis Nigricans: A skin condition characterized by darkened skin patches; common in people whose body is not responding correctly to the insulin that they make in their pancreas (insulin resistance). This skin condition is also seen in people who have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
ACE Inhibitor: Angiotensin Converting Enzyme. An oral medicine that lowers blood pressure. For people with diabetes, especially those who have protein (albumin) in the urine, it also helps slow down kidney damage.
AGEs: Avanced Glycosylation Endproducts. AGEs are produced in the body when glucose links with protein. They play a role in damaging blood vessels, which can lead to diabetes complications.
ARB: Angiotensin Receptor Blocker. An oral medicine that lowers blood pressure.
BDA: British Diabetes Association
BG: Blood Glucose. The main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy. Also called "blood sugar."
BMI: Body Mass Index. A measure used to evaluate body weight relative to a person's height. BMI is used to find out if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
BP: Blood pressure.
BUN: Blood Urea Nitrogen. A waste product in the blood from the breakdown of protein. The kidneys filter blood to remove urea. As kidney function decreases, the BUN levels increase.
Carb: Carbohydrate, the preferred abbreviation for carbohydrate is "cho."
CDA: Canadian Diabetes Association
CDE: Certified Diabetes Educator. A health care professional with expertise in diabetes education who has met eligibility requirements and successfully completed a certification exam.
CHF: Congestive Heart Failure. Loss of the heart's pumping power, which causes fluids to collect in the body, especially in the feet and lungs.
CHO: Carbohydrate (abbreviated cho): One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide carbohydrate are starches, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and sugars.
Chol: Cholesterol. A type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood; it is also found in some foods. Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and build cell walls.
CDE: Certified Diabetes Educator: A health care professional who teaches people who have diabetes how to manage their diabetes. Some diabetes educators are certified diabetes educators. Diabetes educators work in hospitals, physician offices, managed care organizations, home health care, and other settings.
DCCT: Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT). A study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, conducted from 1983 to 1993 in people with type 1 diabetes. The study showed that intensive therapy compared to conventional therapy significantly helped prevent or delay diabetes complications. Intensive therapy included multiple daily insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump with multiple blood glucose readings each day. Complications followed in the study included diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy.
DKA: Diabetic Ketoacidosis. An emergency condition in which extremely high blood glucose levels, along with a severe lack of insulin, result in the breakdown of body fat for energy and an accumulation of ketones in the blood and urine. Signs of DKA are nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, fruity breath odor, and rapid breathing. Untreated DKA can lead to coma and death.
DM: Diabetes mellitus.
DMer: Internet abbreviation sometimes used in chat rooms and forums to refer to a person with diabetes.
DOD: Date of diagnosis.
DPP: Diabetes Prevention Program. A study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases conducted from 1998 to 2001 in people at high risk for type 2 diabetes. All study participants had impaired glucose tolerance, also called pre-diabetes, and were overweight. The study showed that people who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through a low-fat, low-calorie diet and moderate exercise (usually walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week) reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Participants who received treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 31 percent.
DX or dx: Diagnosis
DX'd or dx'd: Diagnosed, sometimes also seen in chat rooms and internet forums as DXed.
ED: Erectile Dysfunction. See impotence.
EMG: Electromyography. A test used to detect nerve function. It measures the electrical activity.
EMT: Emergency medical technician.
Endo: Endocrinologist. A doctor who treats people who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes.
ESRD: End-Stage Renal Disease: See kidney failure.
FBS: Fasting blood sugar.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration
GDM: Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. A type of diabetes mellitus that develops only during pregnancy and usually disappears upon delivery, but increases the risk that the mother will develop diabetes later. GDM is managed with meal planning, activity, and, in some cases, insulin.
GTT: Glucose Tolerance Test (also, oral glucose tolerance test).
GP: General practicioner; a general doctor, not specializing in a particular field of medicine such as endocronology.
Gr: Gram. A unit of weight in the metric system. An ounce equals 28 grams. In some meal plans for people with diabetes, the suggested amounts of food are given in grams.
H - Humalog insulin (also Lispro)
HbA1C Test: Hemoglobin A1C test. See A1C.
HDL Cholesterol: High-Density-Lipoprotein. A fat found in the blood, takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal. Also called "good" cholesterol.
HLA: Human Leukocyte Antigens. Proteins located on the surface of the cell that help the immune system identify the cell either as one belonging to the body or as one from outside the body. Some patterns of these proteins may mean increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
HMO: Health maintenance organization.
Hyper: Hyperglycemia, when used in Internet diabetes discussions.
Hypo: Hypoglycemia, when used in Internet diabetes discussion.
ICA: Islet Cell Autoantibodies. Proteins found in the blood of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They are also found in people who may be developing type 1 diabetes. The presence of ICA indicates that the body's immune system has been damaging beta cells in the pancreas.
IDDM: Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. Former term for type 1 diabetes.
IFG: Impaired Fasting Glucose. A condition in which a blood glucose test, taken after an 8- to 12-hour fast, shows a level of glucose higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IFG, also called pre-diabetes, is a level of 110 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL. Most people with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
IGT: Impaired glucose tolerance. A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT, also called pre-diabetes, is a level of 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL 2 hours after the start of an oral glucose tolerance test. Most people with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Other names for IGT that are no longer used are "borderline," "subclinical," "chemical," or "latent" diabetes.
Intravenious (IV): Injecting liquid medication or nourishment into the body by needle or cathetor directly into a vein.
JDF: Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
JDRF: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
K Calorie. A unit representing the energy provided by food. Carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol provide calories in the diet. Carbohydrate and protein have 4 calories per gram, fat has 9 calories per gram, and alcohol has 7 calories per gram.
LADA: Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults. A condition in which type 1 diabetes develops in adults.
LDL Cholestero: Low-Density Lipoprotein. A fat found in the blood, takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and also deposits it on the inside of artery walls. Also called "bad" cholesterol.
L Insulin: Lente Insulin. An intermediate-acting insulin. On average, lente insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 8 to 12 hours after injection but keeps working for 18 to 24 hours after injection. Also called L insulin.
Mg/dL: Milligrams per deciliter, a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mg/dL. Medical journals and other countries use millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To convert to mg/dL from mmol/L, multiply mmol/L by 18. Example: 10 mmol/L _ 18 = 180 mg/dL.
MI: Multiple injections, or, MI therapy, involving three or more injections of insulin through the course of a day.
Mmol/L: Millimoles per liter. A unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In most of the world, except for the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mmol/L. In the United States, milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is used. To convert to mmol/L from mg/dL, divide mg/dL by 18. Example: 180 mg/dL ÷ 18 = 10 mmol/L.
MODY: Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young.
NIDDM: Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. A former term for type 2 diabetes.
NPH Insulin: Neutral Protaimine Hagedom. An intermediate-acting insulin. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to. See "dietitian."
OGTT: Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (also called Glucose Tolerance Test). A test to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. The oral glucose tolerance test is given by a health care professional after an overnight fast. A blood sample is taken, then the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage. Blood samples are taken at intervals for 2 to 3 hours. Test results are compared with a standard and show how the body uses glucose over time.
OHA: Oral Hypoglycemic Agent. Medicines taken by mouth by people with type 2 diabetes to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Classes of oral hypoglycemic agents are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides, D-phenylalanine derivatives, meglitinides, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones..
PAD - Peripheral Arterial Disease.
PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCP: Primary care physician; your main doctor. When discussing insurance PCP may also refer to "preferred care provided."
PVD: Peripheral Vascular Disease. A disease of the large blood vessels of the arms, legs, and feet. PVD may occur when major blood vessels in these areas are blocked and do not receive enough blood. The signs of PVD are aching pains and slow-healing foot sores.
RD: Registered Dietitian. A health care professional who advises people about meal planning, weight control, and diabetes management. A registered dietitian (RD) has more training.
SubQ: Subcutaneous, as in giving a subcutaneous injection by putting a fluid into the tissue under the skin with a needle and syringe.
T1: Type 1 diabetes.
T2: Type 2 diabetes.
Tri: Triglyceride. The storage form of fat in the body. High triglyceride levels may occur when diabetes is out of control.
U-100: Unit of Insulin: The basic measure of insulin. U-100 insulin means 100 units of insulin per milliliter (mL) or cubic centimeter (cc) of solution. Most insulin made today in the United States is U-100.
Page Updated 04/29/2006