A1C: A test that measures blood sugar, or glucose, levels for the previous
Bad cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. A high level
of bad cholesterol leads to a buildup of cholesterol in arteries and may lead to
Basal insulin: See long-acting insulin.
Bolus insulin: Insulin that covers a rise in blood sugar, often related to
a meal or snack. See fast- or rapid-acting insulin.
Cholesterol: A fat-like substance that is found in the bloodstream and body
tissue. Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and build cell walls. However,
too much cholesterol can cause a disease that harms blood circulation.
Dietitian: A health care professional who advises people about meal planning,
weight control, and diabetes management.
Endocrinologist: A doctor who treats people who have endocrine gland problems
such as diabetes.
Fast- or rapid-acting insulin: An insulin that starts working within 5 to
10 minutes and lasts up to 3 hours, depending on the type used.
Fasting blood glucose: The measurement of a person’s blood sugar when the
person has not eaten in 8 to 12 hours.
Glucose: Also known as blood sugar, glucose is used by the body for fuel.
Glucose is produced when the digestive system breaks down food.
Glucose tablets: Tablets made of pure glucose, used for treating
low blood sugar.
Good cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Good cholesterol
helps the liver remove all cholesterol from your body. The higher your good cholesterol
level, the lower your chance of getting heart disease.
Hormone: A chemical made by the body to help it work in different ways. For
example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas to help the body use glucose
Hyperglycemia: A condition people with diabetes may experience when their
blood glucose levels are too high. Symptoms of hyperglycemia may include having
to urinate often, being very thirsty, and losing weight.
Hypoglycemia: A condition that occurs when a person’s blood sugar is lower
than normal, usually less than 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness,
perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion. If left
untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness. Hypoglycemia is treated by
consuming a carbohydrate-rich food such as a sugar tablet or juice. It may also
be treated with an injection of glucagon if the person is unconscious or unable
Long-acting insulin: A type of insulin, such as Levemir® (insulin detemir
[rDNA origin] injection), that lowers blood sugar throughout the day. Long-acting
insulin covers blood glucose between meals and at nighttime. It tends to lower glucose
levels fairly evenly over a 24-hour period.
Lipodystrophy: Small dents or lumps in the surface of the skin caused by
repeated insulin injections in the same area.
Nephrologist: A medical professional involved with the health of the kidneys.
Nutritionist: A person with training in nutrition. A nutritionist may have
specialized training and qualifications, but also may not.
NPH: An intermediate-acting insulin used to treat diabetes. It starts working
more slowly, has a lower peak, and lasts longer than regular insulin. NPH stands
for Neutral Protamine Hagadorn, so named because it has a neutral pH, contains protamine,
and was invented by a scientist named Hans Christian Hagedorn.
Ophthalmologist: A medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases
and eye disorders.
Pancreas: An organ in the body that produces insulin, which enables the body
to use glucose for energy.
Podiatrist: A doctor who specializes in the feet. Podiatrists also provide
regular foot examinations and treatment.
Postprandial blood glucose: The measurement of a person’s blood sugar level
1 to 2 hours after the person has eaten, also known as post-meal blood glucose.
Prediabetes: A condition in which blood sugar levels (fasting plasma glucose)
are higher than normal (100 mg/dL) but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes
(126 mg/dL). People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2
diabetes. Other names for prediabetes are impaired
glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.
Type 1 diabetes: A condition characterized by high blood sugar levels caused
by a 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 and therefore blood sugar cannot enter the cells to be used for energy.
Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.
Type 2 diabetes: A condition characterized by high blood sugar levels that
occur when the body does not make enough insulin, and cells may not use naturally
available insulin correctly. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged
and older adults. Clinically based reports and regional studies suggest that type
2 diabetes, while still rare in children and adolescents, is being diagnosed more
frequently in children and adolescents, particularly in American Indians, African
Americans, and Hispanic/Latino American populations.